Are You A Patient Person?

I will be honest. I am not. In fact, as God graciously and perfectly conforms me more into the image of Jesus, I am learning that impatience is probably my greatest weakness. I am not happy about this. Patience is required for godly leadership. “The Lord’s bond-servant” says Paul, “must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged” (2 Timothy 2:24). Those who preach God’s Word are to do “with great patience” (2 Timothy 4:2). Not surprisingly, this impatience leads to misunderstanding and confusion and frustration not only in my own life but in my family and ministry.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 rebukes my impatience:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

 

In this familiar passage, Solomon talks about times and seasons. He begins by stating a thesis, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (v. 1). He then proceeded to illustrate it and prove it to be true (verses 2-8). Clearly, God has a fitting time for each thing to be done. Timing is critical in everything. Timing is something that has to be God-directed. This is why I am more and more convinced that one of Satan’s greatest ploys is to rush us. Noise and haste are usually of the devil.

Added to this are a few more very fitting verses on waiting:

  • Psalm 25:21: “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.”
  • Psalm 37:7: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”
  • Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

God’s Word to you and me over and over is to wait on the Lord!

The supreme example of this is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who saw and understood his entire life was on God’s sovereign schedule (see John 12:23, 27; 17:1). There was no noise or haste in his life. He did not succumb to Satan’s ruse to rush him (see Matthew 4 and the wilderness temptation). Jesus perfect patience rebukes my impatience.

So here I am rebuked – graciously, lovingly, opportunely – rebuked. How about you? God’s timing is nothing like ours. W must learn to be still and quiet and to wait on him through prayer and study of God’s Word. This is not wasted time. There is no better way to determine God’s timing and grow in the perfect patience of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Preaching for Change

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

– 2 Timothy 4:1-2

Here Paul says several things about our handling of God’s Word:

  1. The goal of all preaching is change: “reprove, rebuke and exhort.” When we exhort we urge people to respond practically to what they hear from God’s Word. When we reprove and rebuke we seek to expose sin. This may not be what people want, but we must bring God’s Word to bear in their lives. 
  2. Change takes time: “be ready in season and out of season” “with complete patience.” The farmer doesn’t sow his seed and expect to see a crop the next day; the sun must shine, the rain must fall, the seed must germinate, and the plant must grow. Preaching is no different. It requires great patience.
  3. Change is always effected through the mind: “teaching.” A great temptation in preaching is to bypass the mind because it’s easier to excite the emotions than edify the mind, to be inspirational rather than instructional. But preaching that bypasses the mind can only engender a temporary response. We must be renewed in our minds (Rom. 12:1-2), and as we grow in knowledge, the truth embraces the affections, thereby producing change.