Patience

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INTRODUCTION:

Thank you again for being here today. If you came in a little late or are joining us online, my name is Phil and I am the lead pastor here at GracePoint. If you are joining us online, please let us know by commenting in the chat box or submitting a way we can pray for you.

As we get started today, I want to pass around this rock. As you receive it, I want you to look at it critically: what do you see? After you have contemplated on the rock pass it to your neighbor.

A couple weeks ago we began a new series entitled Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life. God desires for all of humanity to respond to his love and grace and be in relationship with him. As we engage in that relationship our heart, soul, and mind are transformed and shaped into being more like Christ. This should change how we live as we saw articulated in Galatians and our lives will be marked with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  This morning, I want to talk about the fourth fruit of the Spirit, patience.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) Read Out Loud
22 The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

Last week we talked about peace – how did you experience peace? Did you find peace in some way (ie: with God, with another person)?

The teaching this morning is on patience. How many of you have or have had a little problem with patience?  The rest of you need a sermon on lying!

One of my electric guitarists that served with me had a slight problem with losing his cool. He would tell me stories of getting really upset while driving. I think it is safe to say that he had road rage. One Sunday morning he shows up and I could tell he was bothered. I asked how he was doing and he began to tell me about an incident that had happened to him.  He was on his way home and for some reason, he got upset or another driver got upset, either way they were mad at each other. My friend told me that there was shouting and other car giving the finger, more shouting and maneuvering to try and get around one another. He was tailgating the other person then and they came up on a roundabout. Well after this lengthy, bitter exchange from both drivers having road rage, my friend got too close and struck the other car. Of course now they have done all of this yelling and gesturing and stuff and they have to pull over and get out of the car and face each other.  When they go out of the car, thankfully, they both were embarrassed and apologetic for their behavior. My friend told me that this incident really shook him up and made him realize that he really did have a problem with anger and road rage and needed to do something about it.

In scripture, patience has a direct tie to anger.

Definition of Patience as Used in Galatians 5:22:

  1. From the Greek word makroqumia (makrothymia): long of NOSE or BREATH.  Since anger is accompanied by rapid, violent breathing through the nostrils.
  2. A Literal English translation: long of ANGER and slow to WRATH.
  3. Patience with PEOPLE as opposed to patience with SITUATIONS.

Put all this together and patience means that we are to handle our anger with people slowly.

 

Movement 1:

THE IMPORTANCE OF PATIENCE:

I discovered some interesting results in studying the word patience in scripture.

  1. In the Old Testament, patience (the Hebrew equivalent of makroqumia is “erekaph”) is mentioned only 4 times; each time as a reference to the character of God.
  2. In the New Testament, patience…
  3. …is an attribute of the SPIRITFILLED

In 2 Corinthians 6:6 Paul describes his life as being filled with a long list of hardships and finishes the list with patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love (2 Cor. 6:6).

  1. …makes the believer CREDIBLE.

In almost every reference to the attribute of patience, it is noted as a characteristic that brings credibility to one’s calling and experience with the Lord.  Paul writes:

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
-Ephesians 4:1-2

Just so, in Colossians 1.10-11, Paul again notes how the fruit of patience in our lives demonstrates the credibility of our relationship with the Lord:

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
-Colossians 1:10-11

In this passage, especially you can see the important role that patience has in living a life worthy of the Lord.  Also note what it takes to enjoy patience:  we must be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might.

If we want to have a phenomenal witness, we must be patient with the people around us.

Your temper is one of your most valuable possessions. 

Some of you have seen the story floating on the internet of a lady who shook her fist out the window at a driver and ranted and raved behind the wheel… police pulled her over, cuffed and frisked her.  Checked out her identity on the computer only to apologize, saying they had made a mistake: “we saw your road rage, and then noticed the bumper sticker “I love Sunday School” and so we figured this must be a stolen car.”

If you want to lose your witness, be impatient . . . lose your cool, blow your top, get angry.  There is nothing quite like uncontrolled anger to really destroy your witness, your ministry, your leadership, your integrity and your credibility!

Today I want to talk to you about practical keys to patience.

Movement 2:

KEYS TO PATIENCE:

  1. RESOLVE to manage your anger (Proverbs 16:32).

Anger can be managed.

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
-Proverbs 16.32

But, you might object, “Anger works so well…I get the kids attention when I get really mad.”  Remember the caution of the proverb…patience is worth much more than somebody who can aggressively get things done.  Anger may work well in the short-term, but in the long-term it costs you all influence.

“But pastor, I can’t help myself; I just blow up; I’m a volcano.”  I disagree in a most fundamental way… each of us chooses how to manage our anger.  I can prove that you control your anger….  Example 1:  Let’s say that you are really upset with the kids . . . I mean, you are mad at them.  You’re pointing your finger, your voice is raised, you’re telling them about what it was like when you were a kid . . . how you walked 3 miles to school, in 4 feet of snow, uphill both ways.  You are really upset and you’re on a roll!  Just then, the phone rings, you pick it up and in the sweetest, kindest voice say: “hello, may I help you?…and the kids wish they were on the other end of the phone line.  Example 2:  you are cut off by a Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang… do you shake your fist at them and yell out the window?

You control your anger.  You pick when you are going to unleash the anger and when you are not going to.  Allen Redpath had a church member come up to him one time and begin to explain how bad his temper was and how he just couldn’t help the way he’d unleash his anger and finished by saying: “It’s probably just the cross I must bear.”  Alan Redpath replied: “No, it’s not the cross you must bear, it is the cross your wife has to bear.  It is your sin, it is her cross.” Resolve to manage our anger.

  1. REALIZE the cost of unmanaged anger (Proverbs 11:29; 14:17,29; 15:18; 29:22).

The word anger is one letter away from DANGER

The Bible is very specific about the damage that uncontrolled anger causes.

  1. Unmanaged anger causes ARGUMENTS:

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension.
-Proverbs 15:18

  1. Unmanaged anger leads to doing things we later REGRET:

A quick-tempered man does foolish things.
-Proverbs 14:17 

  1. Unmanaged anger always makes the problem WORSE:

As twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.
-Proverbs 30:33

  1. Unmanaged anger becomes HABITUAL and will control your life:

A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty;

If you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
-Proverbs 19:19

  1. Unmanaged anger is SINFUL:

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
-Proverbs 29:22

Unmanaged anger destroys relationships.  Eventually, no one will trust the hot-tempered person.  Although anger has an excellent short-term record – when you get angry with your kids, they’ll straighten up a lot quicker – but in the longer term it creates resentment and distrust. Realize the cost of unmanaged anger.

  1. RELATE to those who are patient (Proverbs 22:24-25).

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man.  Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.
-Proverbs 22:24-25

Anger is a contagious and learned behavior.  Those people who blow up are people who have been around people who blow up.  We learn how to do it by watching others do it. Relate to those who are patient.

  1. REFUSE to retaliate (Proverbs 29:11; Ephesians 4:26).

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
-Proverbs 29:11

 

If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin.
-Ephesians 4:26

Haven’t we all had these moments when we have said something and five minutes later we say: “Oh, I wish I hadn’t said that”.  I like the story of a fellow who was so angry at his father that he vented all that anger by writing him a merciless, ruthless, hate-filled letter, signed it, put it in an envelope and gave it to a friend to mail it.  His friend realized that he was just angry at the time and likely didn’t really mean many of the things he wrote, so he didn’t mail it…he just put it in his pocket.  The next day, the man cooled off and went to his friend in remorse saying: “Oh, I wish I hadn’t sent that letter.  I’d give anything to get it back…I’d give $50 to get that letter back.”  The friend replied: “How about $100.”

Sometimes we are not fortunate enough to get the letter back.  Sometimes we let the words get out and can’t take them back.  If we’ll only delay, if we’ll only refuse to retaliate, to vent the anger.

Thomas Jefferson, in his book Rules for Living, wrote:

When you are angry count to 10 before you speak and when you are very angry, count to 100.
-Thomas Jefferson

Standard Oil was once one of the biggest companies in the world, led by the famous John D Rockefeller. On one occasion a company executive made a bad decision. It cost the firm $2 million. This was the late 1800’s and $2 million was a huge sum.

Edward Bedford, a partner in the company had an appointment to see Rockefeller. When he entered Rockefeller’s office he saw his boss bent over a piece of paper, busily scribbling notes.

When Rockefeller finally looked up he said to Bedford,  “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss? I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man in to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.” Bedford looked across the table and saw the page Rockefeller had been scribbling on. Across the top of the page was the heading, “Points in favor of Mr. __________.” Below the heading was a long list of the man’s good qualities, including notes of three occasions where he had made decisions that had earned the company many times more than his error had lost.

Bedford later said, “I never forgot that lesson. In later years, whenever I was tempted to rip into anyone, I forced myself first to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I finished my inventory, I would see the matter in its true perspective and keep my temper under control. There is no telling how many times this habit has prevented me from committing one of the costliest mistakes any executive can make — losing his temper.” (Source: reported in Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994). Refuse to retaliate.

  1. RENEW our mind (Romans 12.2).

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
-Romans 12:2

Our desires will transform and control our behavior.  As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23.7).

We are so used to believing that we are what we are and that uncontrolled anger is somehow beyond the grasp of God’s transforming touch.  The culture of confrontation and violence infiltrates into our daily lives through the vast avenues of media distribution. When we feel disrespected we rise up in anger and we strike back, swear, get revenge, let it rip . . . Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12.2).  The greatest “break-through” always starts as a “break-with”.  Break with, once and for all, the belief that this is just the way I am, and nothing can change me.  The Holy Spirit has the power to renew our mind.

  1. RECEIVE by faith on the power of God’s Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:11; Galatians 5:22).

…you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in EVERY WAY . . . being strengthened with ALL POWER  according to his GLORIOUS MIGHT so that you may have great endurance and PATIENCE.

-Colossians 1:11

 

Conclusion:
My journey

As I have been continuing to contemplate the sermon for today, we went to the coast yesterday and I came across this rock on the beach. I am sure each of us notice something about this rock but what stood out to me is that there are thousands of little rocks that have been put together to make this one rock. Each of those little rocks is unique in some way.

As I reflected on the sermon for today and my own journey with patience, it struck that often times we become frustrated and angry because we project some kind of expectation on another that they are not fulfilling. We have some preconceived idea of what the other person should know or how the other person should act or react. When they do not meet our ideal then we become frustrated.

The truth is that each of us are created as unique individuals with vast experiences – no two of us are alike. But we are to bind together in Christian love, living together in unity. And that can only happen when we see others with their uniqueness and realize that patience and controlling our anger lies in the long-suffering of relationships.

Patience is God-given, restraint in the face of opposition or oppression. It is not passivity.

Patience is surely a fruit that makes a person like God. As God is patient with us, so are we to be patient with Him and each other. It cannot be confused with a mere placid disposition, being unperturbed by an and all circumstances. Such a mode of life is more a native personality characteristic than a quality of the spirit. Longsuffering is suffering long without falling to pieces. Its primary essence is perseverance – never giving up – bearing with people and circumstances. It is this patience that reflects truly Christian love. It is not our own achievement but it is the work of God in our hearts, it is a fruit of the Spirit.

A heart at peace with God has patients with their fellow people.

 

Response:

Do you have peace with God? Do you have peace with yourself? Do you have peace with others?

How are you demonstrating that peace with patients with those around you? Are you letting your anger control you, get the best of you, hurt those around you?

Benediction:

Romans 15:5-6
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life

Goodness