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2021 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Expressing Patience

Charles Stanley - Expressing Patience

Charles Stanley - Expressing Patience
Charles Stanley - Expressing Patience
TOPICS: Timeless Truth, Patience

Have you ever found yourself working on something that just wouldn't work? For example, some of the pieces aren't there. They got left out. One piece just won't fit. And then to make it worse, when you're just frustrated about it, somebody says, who's watching, "Now, just be patient. Just be patient". Now you've got two problems. You have the problem of frustration over what won't work and then you've got the problem of frustration of somebody telling you just be patient. You're trying to be patient. And so, sometimes we just get in those situations we don't feel very patient. And you see, we're all gonna face those at one time or the other, and some people are more patient than others. Doesn't seem to bother them, whereas it would bother somebody else.

Patience is a very, very important aspect of the Christian life. In fact, there's tremendous power in patience. There's energy in patience. There's strength in patience. A person who has learned the secret of being patient is able to put up with, be steadfast in, persevere in, to keep on in situations where other people just want to give up and quit. Because it doesn't work out fast enough or the way they expect it to work. So what I want you to see in this message is this. We're all are to express patience, but how do we do it? And sometimes it's not easy. It's a whole lot easier to say to someone, "Now just be patient," than it is to be in the same circumstance and feeling the same frustration and be patient. And it is a little difficult for somebody to say, when you've done your best and you're frustrated and a little bit anxious about it, and somebody say, "Nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, just be patient". You wanna say, "Would you just be quiet while I work this out". Because you're already frustrated enough and now you think, you know, now I'm showing off my impatience.

Well, we all have to face those things. What do you do when you get impatient? How do you express genuine patience when... there are two kinds of patience I think about. There's that daily patience, that is, you know, if somebody's sitting in the car in front of you and they're, she's putting on makeup or something, the light's been green ten seconds and you're sitting there watching that. Well, we all have to face those things. But then there is what I call marathon patience. That is, it may be a long period of illness, and you have to be very patient through it all. Or maybe it's a bad marriage and you're trying to be patient and there seems to be no end in sight. You have to deal with that. It could be one of many things, but sometimes they're long-drawn-out tests and trials we have to face in life. How do we express it?

So that's what I want to talk about in this message, and this is the third message in our series entitled "The Power of Patience". And today I want to talk about "Expressing Patience". And if you'll turn to Ephesians chapter four. I want us to read the first three verses of this chapter. But while you're turning, I want to give you a little background. In the book of Ephesians, the first three chapters, Paul spends all of his time talking about who we are as believers and what we have as the children of God. And he talks about the fact that you and I have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. We've been predestined, adopted, upon us freely bestowed His love. He's lavished His wisdom upon us. And he says in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins. He says we've been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. We have the pledge of an inheritance. We've been saved by the grace of God, that we are His workmanship. And then he talks about the strength that we have as a result.

So, in these first three chapters, here's what he's doing. He's saying: now, this is who you are now that you have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is what you possess: you have the Holy Spirit, you have eternal life, you have this awesome inheritance, you have eternal security, all of these things. So three chapters of that, and then he begins chapter four with this word: therefore. So why does he begin with therefore? Because what he's 'bout to say is this. Therefore, that is on the basis of who you are in Christ, what you possess in Him, now I want to challenge you to live it out, walk it out. So he says, "Therefore, I the prisoner of the Lord implore you," that is, I strongly urge you, I entreat you, I plead with you, he says, "to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you've been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace".

So, with that in mind, what I'd like for us to do is to think about this whole issue, the fact that impatience is not really a joke. We sort of joke about it. "Well, you know, my patience has run out. Well, you know, nobody's expected to be patient all the time," and that's true. But you and I have an obligation. So, the first thing I want to say here is simply this. That we have a spiritual obligation, listen, a spiritual obligation to express patience. We have a spiritual obligation. This isn't just some natural obligation. We have a spiritual obligation. That is, it's an expectation of God. And I want to give you, why I say that, some reasons, and one of them certainly is what Paul just said. He said, "I want you to walk in a manner that's worthy of the calling with which you've been called". That is, those of us who are believers, we say that we're followers of Jesus Christ and, that being true, He has a right to expect us to walk in a manner that's worthy. That is, in a manner that equals the calling. The calling is to be Christ-like.

How are we to walk? In a Christ-like manner. In order to do that, one of the qualities you and I must bear is that of being patient. Remember we said patience means the willingness to wait, whereas impatience means the inability, listen, to tolerate delay. We don't want any delays in our life. Willingness to wait is what patience is all about. But a second thing is this, and that is Paul is continually, listen, he's continually admonishing, through his epistles, people to be patient, for example. We're talking about now the reasons we have this obligation. It's very evident in the Bible that we have this obligation. One of them is it's according to our calling, and secondly, he warns us.

Look, if you will, turn over two books to Colossians chapter three for a moment. And I want you to look at a verse here. Because here's what he says. Colossians chapter three. Philippians, Colossians, chapter three. All through here, what he's doing is simply admonishing us and encouraging us, in each of these verses I want to give you, to do just that. And that is to be patient with other people, and that's what our emphasis is here. All right, start with verse twelve, "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience". Now, he says, "Put it on". Now, if he says, "Put it on," that means I have a responsibility. And somebody says, "Well, I just want the gift of patience". That's not the way it comes. Patience comes through struggle, oftentimes. But I am responsible, as he says, he says, "Put on, put on patience, put on kindness, put on gentleness".

So, I have a responsibility, have an obligation here. Then if you turn to First Timothy chapter one, he says something interesting here. Paul is talking about his own relationship to the Lord. And if you'll notice this fifteenth verse says, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the foremost of all". So, Paul says, thinking about his life, the fact that he was persecuting Christians and trying to destroy the Christian faith, he says, "I among all, I am foremost of all among sinners the greatest of all". Then he says, "Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost," as the foremost sinner, "Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life".

And what he's simply saying is this: that the patience that God bestowed upon him, or showed forth to him, was so awesome, he says it's perfect patience. He just put up with him in the persecutions and put up with him and put up with him until finally He saved him and he said, "Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that," that is, for what reason, "so that in me the foremost, He would demonstrate His perfect patience, and as an example," to people who are lost, "who would believe in Him," that they too could be saved. Saying simply this, whenever you and I acknowledge and when we are patient in difficult situations and other people are looking on, that's one of the most powerful times for us to bear influence and testimony for Jesus. That is, to walk worthy of our calling. We walk very worthy of our calling when, in conflict, you and I are patient, when we're being attacked, falsely accused, or whatever it might be.

Then you say, "Well, how are we to respond"? So, I want you to jot down a few things, little something a little different here, and think about how you respond. Let's say, for example, you go to work tomorrow morning and your boss calls you in and he just absolutely, I mean, he lets you have it about something that somebody else did and he thinks you did it. The wisest thing you can do, and I wanna just give you a few suggestions here. How do we express patience toward others when there's conflict? How do we do that? Or it may be that, and I can remember that happened to me when, I used to work in the textile mills in Danville between, in the summers when I was going to college, and I worked on the dry cans, which they had all the sheeting went through there. The sheeting was very tan looking, time it got through all the acid, it became white. And so they would just weave off like this into big carts, and so I had to watch all that.

Well, someone came along with one of their tractors and hit that cart and knocked all of that sheeting over on a sideways, which really messed it up because it's supposed to weave out just like it weaved in. Well, the boss came by, and he just let me have it, just reamed me out, and just right in front of a bunch of other people. Well, I didn't know any better then. I was just afraid, that's the reason I was quiet. And so, I knew that I didn't do it. My boss found out I didn't do it, but he didn't have the courage to come to me and say, "You know what, Charles, I'm sorry. I falsely accused you". But you know what, I never mentioned it, I never opened my mouth, I never said a word. But when the summer was over, he came to me and he could not have been more complimentary. And he could not have been more convicted and told me he was thinking about starting going to church. He wasn't going to church. He just watched how I responded in that situation.

Now, as I said, at that point in my life, I was just afraid. But now I know that being quiet is always a wise idea. So, the first thing I want to say is this. Remain quiet when you're verbally attacked. When somebody attacks you, whether you're guilty or not guilty, just don't blare back. It never does any good because what do they do? Well, they raise their voice and they talk a little louder and you raise your voice, you talk loud. Now you've got a shouting situation going on and nobody is listening to anybody. When somebody is shouting at you, you don't hear that. When you're shouting back, they don't hear that. And so, when these times come, you just remain quiet and let 'em say whatever they're gonna say. And it may be that when they finish, you might say, "Well, is there anything else"? And that doesn't always come across too well because they may say, "Well, come to think of it, yes, there are a few more things". But that's okay, you're still responding in the right way.

The second thing is this. Not only do you respond by being quiet, but you pray for them. You say, "Well, you know what, I don't feel like prayin for 'em". Well, that's not the issue, the issue is you pray for them anyway. God, open their eyes. Help 'em to see what's going on, help 'em to see that they're falsely accusing me. Or, Lord, help 'em to see that I made a mistake and I admit it. And if they'd be quiet I'd be willing to admit it, but they keep talking and, God, I don't even have a chance to confess that I made a mistake. And so what happens is you and I have to, listen, we have to remain quiet no matter what. Then we have to control our thoughts. Because you see, if somebody's accusing you, and falsely accusing you, especially, and you get to thinking about, and here's what happens. If they're accusing you and you're thinking about what's wrong with them at the same time, "Well, that's probably true, but look at you. I mean, look at what you've done and nobody here likes you anyway. You're the boss but nobody likes you".

In other words, if this is what's going on, you know what? Before long, out your mouth's gonna come something you wish you hadn't said. You control your thoughts by, listen, you focus upon God. Father, I hear what's being said. I wanna thank You, Lord. You know that I'm not guilty. I'm gonna trust You to work this out. When you focus on God, you can keep your lip zipped. But unless you do, especially if it's just something that's just really stinging you badly, you have to be very strong not to reply back. So, you control your thoughts, and next thing you control is your emotions. You see, you can't let your emotions get into that for the simple reason you say, "Well, but I'm an emotional person". All of us are emotional. But we, listen, he said, "Walk in a manner worthy of your calling".

And that calling is we're to live out the Christian life before the unbelievers and before carnal Christians. And we can because we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us to enable us, to equip us to face anything and everything in a godly fashion. We have help. Our help is on the inside, and so we have to remember that. So, what we do, another thing we do is we refrain, listen, we refrain from forcing our opinion upon the other person. That is, if they are after you and really coming on strong, trying to persuade them when they're hot and bothered anyway, and they're already persuaded that you're wrong, the best thing you can do is say nothing. At some later time, you can come to them and say, "You know, our conversation and what I'd like to say is, I would like to say to you that here's the other side of that".

And there's a time you can do that. And if you're married, you know that there are times you don't say anything. If you haven't learned that lesson, then it's a little late, but I can tell you, you don't say anything until the other person quietens down and cools off. It's amazing how many times the other person comes back and says, "I'm really sorry. Please forgive me for losing it". And then of course, to be willing to be forgiving. And Second Timothy chapter two, listen what the Scripture says. Second Timothy chapter two, because we have to forgive people, what they do to us. It doesn't make any difference what they do. Listen, verse twenty-four, "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged". Not patient when wronged. That is, we have to be willing to forgive no matter what.

And then I think another thing is to express encouraging words. No matter what somebody's doing, you can say, "Well, I certainly appreciate you telling me this". Or, "Please forgive me if I have in any way misrepresented something". Or, "I want you to know how appreciative I am that you were honest with me about your feelings". There's something about being encouraging that works on people. So you have to be very encouraging no matter what's happening and have a positive attitude. Thank you very much. So, when you and I learn to respond in those situations, here's what happens. The strength of your testimony gets stronger and stronger. The impact of your life becomes stronger and stronger. And what happens is people who maybe criticize you for being a Christian or jab this.

When the unbeliever sees you respond in the right fashion when you're being abused, you know what happens? It makes an impression on them because they think, "I couldn't stand that. I don't know how he, I don't know how she, I couldn't stand that". They see something in you they wish they had. That's why I named this whole series "The Power of Patience". There's energy, strength, fortitude, steadfastness in patience. And when a person is not patient, those things you'll find missing.

Now, to whom should you and I be patient? Well, you say, "That's simple". Well, let me ask you this: If it's so simple, To whom are you patient? Well, my friends, people I love. Most of us are patient with people who what? Who are kind to us, gentle to us. And the word "nice" doesn't say anything. Nice doesn't mean anything, but people who treat us in a kind fashion or who understand us and so forth. That's not what we're talking, we're talking 'bout being patient to everybody. So, listen to what he says. And in the fourteenth verse of First Thessalonians chapter five, "We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone".

Now, so what that does, that eliminates my excuse for a couple of people I don't like to be patient with. In other words, I, you see, we all probably have those people that, well, you know what? I don't mind being patient, but I think I've had enough of this over here. And so, what we have to remember is he said be patient with everyone. In other words, we can't pick and choose. In other words, the believer doesn't pick and choose 'bout who he or she is patient with. That's the command of God, and so this isn't just some bypass quality. This is a very important quality in the eyes of God. And so, he says quite a bit about it.

Now, as we said before, there are two kinds, there's that daily patience, some of those mundane little simple things. Then there's that long-term kind that's very difficult to live in a situation you don't see a way out. You have to keep putting up with it, you have to keep being patient no matter what. But we're obligated to be patient to others, but we have an obligation to be patient with God. Now, somebody says, "Now, wait a minute now. God's supposed to be patient with us". We have to be patient with God. You say, "Well, what has He done"? He has not sinned, He does not make mistakes, but there's one thing about God. It appears, in His response to us oftentimes, there are delays we don't understand. There are delays, in other words, He doesn't always answer our prayer when we expect Him to. He doesn't change circumstances every time we ask Him to.

In other words, we can be in the heat of a very difficult situation, crying out to God to change it, and for some reason, days go by, maybe weeks go by, maybe months go by and it doesn't change. What happens? What gets tested? Our patience gets tested. Now, watch this. When we are not patient with God, what happens? Our response, our response is four-fold. We gonna doubt. We, listen, we're gonna get angry. We're gonna have a rebellious attitude. And we're gonna disobey Him. Now, I want to give you some verses that'll encourage you. All right, want you to turn, first of all, to Psalm twenty-seven. We're gonna stay in the Psalms. Just a few verses here, Psalm twenty-seven, and look, if you will, in verse fourteen. Why would David say this, he certainly had to be patient because he was in all kinda situations. Remember, we talked about how he had to run and hide from Saul for years.

Now listen, verse fourteen of Psalm twenty-seven, "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD". That is, be patient. Wait for Him, don't jump ahead of Him. Then look in Psalm thirty-seven for a moment, and notice, if you will, in the seventh verse of the thirty-seventh Psalm, "Rest in the LORD and wait patiently," that is, willingly wait for Him; that is, don't fret. You see, three times in this passage he says don't fret. Verse one, do not fret. And he says in verse eight do not fret. And he says again in verse seven do not fret. Fret not, fret not, fret not. The only thing's gonna keep me from fretting is being patient. Because if I'm not patient, I'm gonna fret. And fret means I'm gonna be anxious and so forth.

Then I want to give you another verse, but I want to give to you out of another translation. The thirty-seventh Psalm, verse thirty-four. Now, let me read it to you out of the Living Bible translation. This is a wonderful verse about patience, and here's what he says, "Don't be impatient for the Lord to act. But keep traveling steadily along the path, and in due season He will bless you with every good blessing". Keep traveling steadily along the path and in due season He will bless you with every blessing. That's the thirty-seventh Psalm, and from the Living Bible translation and thirty-fourth verse. Psalm chapter forty, verse one, he says, "I patiently waited upon the LORD; and He heard my cry". And then I wanna give you one other in Psalm twenty-five for a moment. Look at this passage.

Psalm twenty-five, and listen to what he says. And this is sort of undergirds what we've said about waiting and being quiet. Let's start with verse one, "To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me". Now, listen to his statement. "Indeed, none of those who wait," who are patient with the Lord, "will be ashamed". You never have to worry about God being too late, not fulfilling His promise. When we're patient, He says what? When we're patient, we have the favor of God. So, think about it for a moment. Who is it in your life that's the biggest test to your patience? What is it, for example, that they do that really tests your patience to the "Nth" degree? Well, let me ask you this. What are you gonna do about it? Let's ask this question. What should you do about it?

Well, I should be patient. Well, I want you to be sure you don't miss the next message. Because you see, we have to learn to be patient. Patient isn't a gift that God hands down. We don't get patience by simply praying for Him, "Oh God, please give me patience". Now, there may be some situations that you're getting ready to walk into and you may have to say, "Oh God, enable me in Jesus's name". That's an emergency prayer, pray it! Absolutely! Emergency, pray it! But that's not the way you become patient. That may be patience for the moment, but you and I want to be patient people. We want to be worthy of the calling with which we are called. And when we begin to show patience toward others who need to see a testimony, hear a testimony of what God is doing in our life.

And so, I want to encourage you, think about this for a moment. You may have heard the gospel many, many times. And God's been very patient with you, letting you hear it. You may have heard it, you may have heard the gospel many times from many different perspectives. And every time you've said, "One of these days, one of these days". You say, "Well, God, now one of these days, I'm gonna get this straight now, but right now," you know what? God's being patient with you. How long is He gonna be patient with you? I don't know that, but neither do you. You say, "Well, isn't God eternally patient"? No, He's not. He's not eternally patient. So, what you have to ask is this: How long are you gonna disobey God? How long are you gonna rebel against Him? How long are you gonna say no to Him and, one of these days, say it one time too many after too long a time. I want to encourage you, listen, don't delay placing your trust in Him as your Savior while you still have time.
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