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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Rewards of Patience

Charles Stanley - The Rewards of Patience

Charles Stanley - The Rewards of Patience
TOPICS: Reward, Patience

Aren't you glad that God does not wait until the judgment to give us all the rewards and all the benefits of our life? He's a good God, a God of mercy and love and kindness and thoughtfulness and encouragement. And so what He does oftentimes in our life is He grants us petitions, He does all kinds of things because He wants to reward us now. And sometimes when we think about rewards, we think they're only going to come out yonder somewhere one of these days in the judgment. Well, there will be rewards then but also there are rewards now. Little things that we do oftentimes we never think about and He rewards us. And when He rewards us, we don't even think about the fact that we're being blessed or rewarded or benefited as a result of something we've done or something we've thought.

For example, Jesus said to His disciples in the Upper Room before His crucifixion that night, He says, "This is My command to you, that you love one another". Well, love can be expressed either by attitude or by action. And usually if the attitude is right, some action will follow. And so, we get blessed we say, we're benefited by, that is, we're rewarded by God in different ways as a result of loving someone. Well, that's not just true of love but it's true of other attitudes also. And we've been talking about now for, this is our fifth week, about patience, "The Power of Patience" in a person's life, and all the effects that it can have in a person's life.

Well, one of the attitudes that God certainly rewards here and now in this life, we don't have to wait for it. It's here and now, is that when you and I exercise patience, patience in circumstances, patience with each other, even patience with God. So, here's what I'd like to do. I'd like to give you a list of the benefits of the rewards of what happens when you and I are willing to wait, willing to be patient in whatever circumstance it may be. Remembering that God is faithful and that He is not going to overlook our patience or expressions of our patience. He's faithful, He sees, He rewards.

So, let's think about some of these. And the first one is this. That when you and I are patient, we see God at work in our life. When we're patient, we don't jump ahead of God and we do exactly what He says, what happens is we begin to see how He works things out. Then what we do, we compare how we were going to work it out versus how God works it out and here's what you'll conclude. You'll conclude every time, God's way is the best way. He always has a better way. So, one of the first things that happens is we see God at work in our life. A second one is this. The strong, listen, the strong testimony we have of God's faithfulness to other people. When you and I are patient in very difficult circumstances, and I could give you lots of good examples of this, very patient in difficult circumstances, people watch. They watch how you respond. They watch about what you say. They watch how you not only respond but the way you act toward other people.

If you blame God, if you get bitter, if you get resentful, if you get hostile. If you talk about what should have been, what could be. Or do you faithfully, patiently wait for God to correct the situation or whatever it might be in your life. But we have an awesome opportunity to have a strong testimony. A third thing that I would get you to notice as far as benefits is this. That we're able to achieve our objective. And I'll give you a personal example of one thing that's helped me learn patience. I have a long ways to go, I'm sure, but photography has really helped me to learn patience. Now I've learned by making mistakes. And I think about how many times I have set up my tripod and camera to take a particular scene, waiting for the light to be right, and that's what photography's all about. It's all about light.

And so, either the clouds are blocking the sun or it's blocking something else and so what happens? You wait and wait and wait and you keep looking and sometimes, you pray, "Lord, just blow those clouds away, just move 'em away, will Ya"? And, and what happens is, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. So, it doesn't happen so you just take it all down, put your equipment up and get in the car and drive on the expressway, look in the rearview mirror and you think, "My goodness, if I'd just waited five more minutes". What an awesome scene because you're impatient. And because I was impatient. And you just think about this. When you and I walk away before God's timing, most of the time we don't know what we missed. If we knew what we were going to miss, we'd probably stay there longer. But you see, we don't know what we missed. And getting ahead of God never works.

Then for example, another benefit is that you and I make wise, timely, profitable decisions. When we wait upon Him and trust Him, we make wise, timely, profitable decisions because oftentimes, listen, oftentimes it's just the moment, not hours, but sometimes the moment. And I can think of times when I've started to walk away and said, "No, I'm going to wait this out". In a few moments, it'd just all just break out in the most beautiful scene. Timely, wise decisions when you and I are willing to wait.

Then I think about another illustration I want to give you here, I think about oftentimes, asking God for clear direction. And what we do is we start asking for clear direction, we don't get it now, what happens is, we just go on do our thing. I remember when I was in seminary, and I felt like the Lord had asked me and my wife to go to spend the summer in some mission church somewhere, preaching and singing and just spending the summer wisely investing our time for the Kingdom of God. Well, we had it all worked out with then what was called the Home Mission Board in our denomination. And so, one Saturday morning I got up and I just started praying that morning and somehow I felt this awesome burden. And I just couldn't quit praying.

And so, I told her, I said, "You know, I just need to spend some time just talking to the Lord". I prayed all day long. I felt a burden so heavy but I didn't know what it was. And surely I'm certain I must have been tempted to quit two or three times but somehow I couldn't. I just kept praying and asking God to show me. I did not leave that room between six and six-thirty that evening I knew I'd heard from God. It's like the Lord said to me, finally He got through to me, "That was your plan, it sounds good, it looks good, it's a great plan, it's not My will. You have to lay that down". And you know what? God had a different plan. But I think of how much hinged on the patience to wait till you hear His answer. I cannot tell you how important that is. Waiting till you get direction from Him.

Another one of the benefits that I think is so important is this. And that is, we have God's favor. And you remember he says in First Peter chapter two, twenty, he speaks of the favor of God. You know what the favor of God is? The favor of God is God's approval. That's God's freedom to be good to us and to be kind to us and to bless us and to favor us in ways, that is to do things that are good for us in ways that you and I would not probably do for ourselves, or wouldn't even think that He's thinkin' that much about us. Because you see, oftentimes we don't realize how much He loves us and how much He wants to do, and listen, how much He favors us and desires the best for us if you and I are willing to wait for Him.

So he says favoring us is certainly one of those blessings. Another is the strength to endure suffering. A person who, listen, who is not patient when suffering comes, and we've all probably been there at times and thinkin', "God, how long does this have to last and how much do I have to hurt", and all the things that we say. Sometimes a person, if they cannot be patient, they'll grow bitter, resentful, hostile, angry to God, blame God, look for somebody else to blame, tell God how unfair it is. Tell God they don't deserve this. Or patiently wait for God to bring the healing or the deliverance.

And so, patience is, listen, the benefit is that you and I can be able to and will be able to endure suffering and hardship, otherwise we could not do it. Then of course, it builds strong relationships. And we've mentioned a lot of these things in these four messages before but I want to put 'em all together to help you to see how wise it is to be patient. And that is we can build strong, loving, lasting relationships, because the truth is without patience you cannot. If you don't have any patience, you should never get married. If you don't have any patience, you should never have children. If you don't have any patience, you should never invest in the stock market. I could just go on and on and on of things you should never do if you don't have any patience until you're willing to let God deal with you because you're going to drive away people in that relationship, you're going to make wrong decisions with your finances. And you know, you're going to drive people away, they could be a great asset in your life.

Patience is a valuable strong asset in someone's life. The power of patience. So what happens is, we build strong, loving, lasting relationships. How? Because we realize there are differences between us. We realize that personalities are different. We realize that you came from Texas and she came from Massachusetts and never the two shall meet. And so, what happens is that you have different ideas and different perspectives on things and how you grew up. In this house you ate this, in this house you ate that, and well why don't we have that? Well, I never had any of that. Well, why don't we have this? Well, my mother never cooked it that way. And so, what happens? People get in all kind of little difficulties because, and they get impatient. And if they don't deal with it, a little bit of impatience can destroy a relationship.

Then I think about how people are saved oftentimes as a result of somebody's personal witness. And you see, more than likely ninety-nine percent of us were not saved when somebody said to us the first time, "Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior"? And more than likely all of us were talked to more than once, several times, and sometimes people have been witnessed to over and over and over again. Sometimes there's a friend that you really want to see saved and I know of someone who just shared with me not long ago, twenty long years, twenty long years they waited and prayed and asked God to save this person and finally He did. Finally, they listened. When you and I learn to be patient, here's what happens. They can say, "I don't want to hear it". It doesn't bother us. "Don't tell me anything else about it". They can't keep us from praying for 'em. And what happens is in our patience, God uses that to be an awesome blessing to bring people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Then I think about how we encourage people to grow in the Lord. Helping, helping them to grow in their relationship to Him, to mature in their relationship to Him. And that's really what we do week after week, is help people mature in their relationship to Him. And if you're dealing with someone, for example, and you're impatient, you'll say, "Well, you mean you only read two verses this morning? You mean you didn't get up at six o'clock and pray this morning"? In other words, you and I have to be patient, listen, and remember where people are. We have to take them where they are in their spiritual life and gently, lovingly, listen, in a disciplined fashion lead them to grow in their relationship to Christ. Because everybody's not in the same place. And sometimes you'll hear people sorta brow-beating other people because they haven't done this, and they don't read their Bible as much as they do and don't pray as much as they do. You can't operate that way. Jesus didn't, neither did the Apostle Paul.

And so, listen, we're able to help people grow in their relationship to Christ only when we're patient and we're understanding. Then of course we're also able to rescue those that we see going in the wrong direction. And most, many, many parents have had to do that. Patiently you've said to your daughter or your son, "Don't go there. Don't do that, don't date him, don't date her, don't be found in that place, don't drive like that". They do it anyway. And so, what do you do? You can either blast them out of the seams or you can patiently talk to them, remind them, recall things that have happened to you, things that have happened to other people. And so what happens is we can patiently deal with people and rescue them. When you see that they're headed in the wrong direction, they're going to destroy life, they're just going to mess it up no matter what. But as you deal with 'em and God works in your life and uses you, what happens? He uses you to rescue them. And then of course the whole issue of answered prayer.

How many times have you and I started praying vigorously about somebody or about some situation? I mean we were just calling out to God and crying out to God and two weeks later, if somebody mentioned to us, we'd say, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah". What happens is because He doesn't answer our prayer quickly, we're prone to give up. But patience says, listen. If God burdens your heart with something, or He burdens your heart to pray for somebody, just because you don't see change in them right now doesn't mean that God isn't answering your prayer. Because remember, God doesn't begin His change on the outside, He begins His change deep inside of a person's heart. And then of course naturally He protects us from, listen, from very distressing and difficult situations when we wait.

Oftentimes we getting ready to move into a direction we shouldn't move in. We wait and ask God to show us, and He shows us, "Don't go there, that's not My will, that's not My plan, that's not My purpose". God's not going to take my messes and cover 'em up and make 'em okay because I prayed. That's not the way He operates. When we deliberately, willfully refuse to hear from God, whether it's from some pastor or from some friend, if God is speaking to us and we know that somehow deep down inside it's not the right thing to do, we just go ahead and do it anyway. And we expect that God's just going to say, "Oh, that's perfectly all right. You know what? Everybody makes mistakes". Well, He will forgive us, and some things, they'll seem to be no real repercussion but some things there are going to be resounding repercussions as a result.

So what you and I have to remember is this. That oftentimes when He says "no", all He's doing is expressing love trying to protect us from something that He knows you and I cannot change, we can't correct, we're not going to be happy, it's not going to work, it's not going to fulfill us. And so what He's trying to do is to protect us as a result. And then of course the whole issue of spiritual maturity. When you and I grow in our patience, we're growing in our spiritual maturity. We're able to withstand the pressure of what people want us to do. We don't jump because they say jump, we don't make a quick decision. We don't criticize and we don't force people to fit into our mold. We don't shove them along and expect them to be something they can't be at that moment.

What happens is, we mature. Our understanding of God, our faith, listen, we understand the faithfulness of God when we have to wait and wait and wait and then watch Him do the most awesome work in our life. And then we see Him do it in the most awesome way. We would never have thought about that way. We would have never done it that way. It's totally beyond us. What does that do? That matures us, the steadfastness that God builds into our life as a result of patience, one of the benefits, one of the many benefits. Then I would say it means also the maximum effectiveness in every area of our life. That is, when you and I learn to be patient, here's what happens. We maximize our potential, because we wait for God's timing, we do it God's way. We wait till we have clear guidance and direction in our life and what happens? It's always best. Everything always turns out better when you and I are willing to trust Him and wait.

And then of course, it contributes to our calm, listen, our calm healthy lifestyle. For example, a person who is, who learns to be patient has an inner sense of calmness and quietness and steadfastness and coolness about them as you and I would say that otherwise is not there. And what happens to a person's impatient? They're tense and full of stress. Well, let's get this done. Well, why haven't you got it done? Well, I been waiting too long. Well, you know what? You can feel, you can sense the tension and the stress in people like that. You don't want to go to those kinda people for counsel. You want to go to somebody who's calm on the inside. And listen. Even though you may have to be very active, very busy doing whatever God's called you to do.

And there's lots of activity going on, lots of things that are happening around you. On the inside there's that calm lake. Your emotions deep down inside are just as calm as they can be. You may have to say a lot, do a lot, be very active, but on the inside it's the inside, this is what destroys people. This is what oftentimes gives 'em heart attacks. It's stress and tension on the inside. And sometimes people say, "Well, it's weight". It's not always weight. It's the weight of what they're dealing with on the inside of them. Their tension, their stress, their anger, their animosity, their impatience and impatience causes all of those things to happen in their life, and what happens? It works on your heart, works on your physiological body and you don't feel good, you get tired, you gotta have pills, you gotta go to the doctor and wonder what in the world's wrong with you. The problem is you're just impatient. It's just that simple because you've never learned to trust God for the simple things in life, the things that are so very, very important in life.

And then of course one of the benefits is it contributes, listen, to our trustworthiness by other people. You see, you and I can trust a person who is patient far more than we can somebody who is very impatient because we think, "Now wait a minute, they're coming to a quick decision. This is one of those knee-jerk reactions and so I don't know that I want to trust that kind of advice". Or someone who always has a quick answer for everything. We don't make snap decisions. Sometimes we are forced to make quick decisions, but those quick decisions are based on our faith in God, our trust in God, our listening to Him, our being wise and sometimes, listen, you and I have to wait but we don't have to wait long. Sometimes a decision confronts you and you don't have but maybe moments to answer, moments to wait.

And sometimes somebody will ask me a question. They'll say, "Well, the question I been wanting to ask you a long time". Well I always pray, "God, give me wisdom, help me to understand exactly what they're askin' for. Are they saying what they mean or something else"? So, I can pray a whole lot in about ten seconds while they're still telling me what it's all about. For the simple reason, I wanna be wise and I want to give 'em wise counsel. I don't want to give 'em something quick. Now I may have to give them something that's quick from their perspective, but not quick from my thinking because I want to draw from God's Word and from experience lest I give them some off-the-cuff answer which most of the time isn't worth anything. And then of course, contentment, joy and thanksgiving. In other words, impatience and joy? No. Impatience and contentment? No. Impatience and thanksgiving? No because they didn't get it fast enough. And so, all of these are the benefits of learning to do what? Learning to be willing to wait. Not impatient, that is unable to tolerate any delay to my decisions.

And then of course God, listen, one of the benefits is that God views you and me as available vessels for Him to use when we're patient. When He sees that He wants to change something in someone's life, who does He choose to counsel him? Someone who will listen, as we said a few moments ago, who'll be quiet, who'll be understanding. What happens is that you and I become very valuable, available vessels of God to be used by Him to help other people. What's life all about but relationships and loving and responding and helping and encouraging each other?

And then I would give you one last one and that is this. When you and I are patient, we position ourselves with God, listen, to receive God's best. It doesn't make any difference what the situation is. When you and I face it and we're patient, willing to wait for God, willing to wait for His timing, we always receive God's best. You see, He doesn't offer second best, third best and fourth. He only offers His best. And what is His best? Here's what His best is. It's the absolute, it's the absolute of all that God in all of His wisdom and power and unconditional love can give us. That's what He offers every single time. At times it may be different from other times, but His very best is what He has to offer.

Well, those are some of the benefits of being patient. Now, the most important thing I'm going to say all through this message I'm about ready to say. Are you listening? Say amen. Here's the most important thing. Because all of our life we're going to find ourselves, we're going to find ourselves being impatient. We're going to face situations and circumstances which we're going to find ourselves tempted to be impatient. Now here's what I want you to remember. Listen carefully. The determining factor of how patient I'm going to be in whatever circumstance, the determining factor is the value I place on the object of my patience. Now watch this. If I have a relationship with you, and that relationship is in trouble, the value I place on you as a person and as my friend will determine how patient I'm going to be. The value I place on you as my friend or that relationship will determine how patient I'm going to be. For example, let's say that I'm seeking God's will for my, in a matter, I want to know what God wants.

Listen, the value I place on knowing the will of God, the value I place on my relationship with God will determine how patient I am, how long I will wait, how much I will pray. And look at, think about in your own life, for example. What value do you place on that something that maybe be a point of irritation in your life at this point? What kind of value do you place on your husband or your wife? You're going to walk away and leave 'em? What value do you place upon your son or your daughter? You just going to turn your back on 'em and say, "Well, you know, it that's the way you are forget it. Don't even claim to be my son or my daughter".

You have a friend who's struggling deeply. They don't even understand all that they're going through. The value you place on them will determine how patient you are. If you just think, "Well, you know what? You settle your own issue. I don't have time for that because I've got my own problems". What you're saying is, "I don't value you". And if you can remember that above everything else, the value you place on the object of your patience will determine how patient you are. And you know what else it says? My patience reveals how valuable you are. My patience reveals the value I place on my relationship to Him if I'm willing to wait and willing to trust Him.

Well, you may not be a Christian and you may be saying, "Well, how does all this work in my life"? It won't work. Because you see, until you accept, until you accept God's Son who is the Lord of Life, is the Lord of your life, willing to surrender yourself to Him, asking Him to forgive you of your sins, and believing that His death at the cross paid your sin-debt in full, not partially but in full, and now you're willing to ask Him to forgive you for your sins and to trust Him as your personal Savior, it won't work. Once you do that, God'll show you how to work it in your life. And that's my prayer for you.

Father, how grateful we are for Your grace, love, mercy, kindness, and Lord today, patience. How You've been patient with us all of these years. And we just ask the Holy Spirit to speak to every one of us, just entrench this message in our hearts and use it in such a way that all of us will become valuable vessels of Yours, for Your kingdom, in Jesus' name, amen.

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