“You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near.” James 5:8 CEB
My dad said there was a motto that fit me pretty well when I was a kid. The motto went like this—If at first you don’t succeed, force it. Evidently, I was not a very patient kid. I believe it had more to do with wanting something to work the way it should and not wanting to figure out what wasn’t working. Whatever it was within me I did not demonstrate a lot of patience. I’m not sure when it happened, but I believe I developed a little bit more patience growing into adulthood. There are still many things that try my patience. Some of the things that try my patience are when I see someone being mistreated [injustice], when I witness an unloving act, when God is ridiculed or mocked, and when something hurts one of my family members. In these things you could say that I am still impatient.
Do you have any issues with patience? Being able to identify the things that try your patience is a good first step in understanding your answer to that question. Patience is something we often have to develop. Look at most little kids, they want what they want when they want it—or they throw a fit. This can also apply to adults. However, we usually want different things and the fits we throw look different. If you don’t believe me on this, you did not watch any of the coverage of General Conference. The behavior of some of our brothers and sisters in Christ was nothing short of a tantrum. Any why? Because they were not getting what they wanted. It was not limited to either side of any issue either. So, how do we develop greater patience?
James writes to give his original readers, and today’s readers, some clues about patience. James tells us we must wait patiently and strengthen our resolve. If we are waiting for something—in this case for the Lord’s return—we need to remember why. Strengthening our resolve means we are remembering our purpose, why we are waiting. James also advises that while you are remembering the purpose of your waiting not to complain about each other so that we won’t be judged. Only God can do that, and James says God is standing near and watching. He also writes that we should remember those who have gone before us who demonstrated great patience. He says specifically to remember the prophets and Job. All of these things will develop greater patience in our life. Not doing these things will have the opposite effect.
I was meeting with a church member at Starbucks this week and we were sitting outside. As we were talking a woman started yelling at the car in front of her. She said things I cannot write in this article. She was demonstrating an extreme lack of patience for the person driving the other car. I am certain she had lost sight of her purpose in that moment. I am certain she was not remembering the people she has known who went before her who exhibited patience. I know for a fact that she was complaining about the other driver—I could hear her from 100 yards away.
How is your patience? We all need to develop greater patience with our spouse, children, siblings, relatives, coworkers, brothers and sisters in Christ, and everyone in general. We often lose our patience because we aren’t getting what we want. If you are impatient check your purpose. Reminding yourself of the purpose of the moment will develop a greater sense of resolve and a greater sense of patience. Don’t complain about others. Instead focus on your purpose and remember the people in your life who have demonstrated great patience. James writes that we should do this because the coming of the Lord is near. I believe we should also do this because it honors Jesus now. Will you develop greater patience in your life today?
This Sunday we will finish our message series entitled “A Life of Joy.” This study of The Book of James has taught us that we need to live out our faith every day by putting what we believe in action. This will often require a great deal of patience as we seek to live a Christ-like life. This is our purpose, to love the way Jesus loved and demonstrate that in every way. When we choose to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone in our life we are on mission together. I hope you will join me this Sunday in worship [8:15|NINE45|11:15]. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!