Joyce Meyer - A Patient Attitude
- How to know Jesus
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, the Word of God is so important, and it's how we keep our spirit strong. And if we're strong enough spiritually, then we can overcome the things that come against us in the natural. And today we're talking about attitudes again. We did that yesterday, talked about a thankful attitude. Today, we're gonna be talking about an attitude that I'm sure none of you need teaching on, but I thought I'd teach about it anyway, and that is a patient attitude. And if you don't need it, I'll preach to myself because being patient has been one of my biggest challenges in life. I've got that aggressive type-a personality, and when I want it, I want it, I don't wanna wait on it. And God has been so patient with me in helping me develop patience.
Philippians 2:5: "Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [let him be your example in humility]". Well, humility is required to be patient. Because most of the time when we're impatient, we're being frustrated with somebody who's not doing something the way we think we would do it if we were doing it, or were frustrated because God's not moving fast enough to suit us, or traffic is not moving fast enough to suit us. But it's amazing how humility will change a person. "Let this same attitude be in you which was in Christ Jesus". Well, what happens when you're not patient? Luke 21:19 says, "In your patience possess ye your souls".
Now, that's kind of an interesting scripture. And, you know, if you don't really think about it, you might wonder, "What in the world does that mean"? But you know, your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions. And we do need to possess them. In other words, we need to be in control of our mind, our emotions, and our will. Because if we're not, we're gonna end up acting very badly. And the Bible is teaching us here that if we're patient, we will actually be in control of all of those things. But if we're not patient, they're gonna end up controlling us. I don't know about you, but I don't want my mind to rule me. Every time something doesn't go as fast as I'd like it to, I don't wanna have thoughts that, "Well, you know, these people are stupid," or "They could move faster" or, you know, whatever the kind of things we think when we're not getting things the way we want it.
I wanna have good thoughts because I'm happier when I have good thoughts. And I know that God wants me to have good thoughts. And I sure don't want my emotions to rule me because emotions, if we follow them, can get us in a lot of trouble and they can do it quick. And I don't want my own will to control me. I wanna do the will of God, not just do what I want. When you're not patient, you're frustrated most of the time. I don't know if you ever linked the two together. But frustration comes, one of the things that comes from being impatient. To be frustrated means to obstruct, to cause to feel discouraged, to bring to nothing, or to defeat. And I have learned in my life that when I get into works of the flesh, what the Bible calls "Works of the flesh", which is my energy trying to do what only God can do, or my idea of what things should be done, or how I can change somebody, or how I can change a situation that always ends up making me frustrated because works of the flesh are works that don't work.
And when I was a much younger Christian and I was learning all these things, when God taught me that works of the flesh equaled frustration, I actually made a sign and put it on my refrigerator to remind me that every time I felt frustrated, it was because I was into works of the flesh. I was trying to do something that only God can do. Now, God wants us to work the works of God, but not our own works of the flesh. Frustration occurs when we try to do something about something, we cannot do anything about. When we try to make something happen that only God can make happen. When we try to get something we don't have, and we have no ability to get it. Or when we try to get rid of something that's in our life that we don't want, and we have no ability to get rid of it. No matter what we do, this thing that we don't want doesn't go away and then we get frustrated.
"Well God, why won't you do something about this? Why? I've prayed and prayed. God, you're not answering my prayer in this area. And this is hard for me. It's frustrating me". It's very important that we learn that the minute we get into works of the flesh, we're going to end up feeling frustrated. Our works interrupt God's process. He wants us to believe that he will answer our prayers and he will do what needs to be done in our life. And it may take longer then we'd like it to take. It may not come the way we would like it to come. But our job as believers and children of God is to believe that his way is always best. God's way is always best. And you know, I don't know about you, but I got so frustrated with myself because I would try to change myself and be more like what I thought God wanted me to be. And I just couldn't change, no matter how hard I tried.
And then I finally discovered that only God could change me. I can pray and ask God to change me. I can study the word in the area where I need change, but I still have to wait on God to do the changing. Or what about trying to change other people? Have you ever tried to change somebody that you're in a relationship with? Have you ever tried to change your children? And you know what? The more you try to change people, the more they dislike it. And if you do it long enough, they can actually get to the point where they can't stand you because most people wanna be accepted for where they're at. I heard a statement sometime in the last year that I really like: "We need to learn to love people where they're at, not where we would like them to be".
Now, that doesn't mean that they don't need to change, but it does mean that we can't love them only if they change because God loves us the whole time we're changing. And if we're praying for somebody, God will be working in their life, but we need to love them all the way through the changes. Our works interrupt God's process, and then he has to postpone what he had planned and wait for us to realize that our plan is not gonna work. And then we need to repent and get back to waiting on God. Here's an example. Let's just say I want my husband to do something, and I've not been able to get him to do it. So, I've been praying that God would change him. But he's not changing. Now, you know when we pray for somebody, God will work on them. Our prayers open a door for God to work, but God is not gonna force somebody to do the right thing against their own will. They have to choose to do that right thing.
So, it's important to understand that when you are praying for somebody else to change, that you have to give it time and you have to face the fact that they might not ever change because they're the ones that need to choose to do that. You can't force people to love God, for example. Maybe you have children or friends or family members that you just don't understand why they don't believe in God. When you have a relationship with God, it is hard to understand why people don't wanna believe in God because he is so wonderful. But you can't make somebody love God. But I'll tell you what, God can do through prayer what we can never do through the works of our own flesh. God can change people. God can change us. God can change circumstances. I was just reading this morning: I think it was in Proverbs 21, maybe. It said that, "The king's heart is in God's hand, just like the watercourses are in his hand".
In other words, God decides which way a river's gonna flow, and he can change the heart of the king. Or God can change the heart of your employer. God can change the heart of whoever is in control of a situation that you're involved in. Ask God to change people's hearts and stop trying to change them yourself. When we move in the strength of our own flesh, and I hope you know what that means, because until we learn that, you know, I can tell right away now, when I get into works of the flesh, because I get frustrated, and things just don't work. When we get into the works of our own flesh, the Bible says we end up "Ashamed, humiliated, and confused" because it just doesn't work.
Isaiah 30:1-3 in the Amplified Classic says, "Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, who take counsel and carry out a plan, but it's not my plan". So, what's he saying? You go and get advice from people, and you all get together and get a plan, but God says, "It's not my plan". "And you make a league and you pour out a drink offering, but it's not of my spirit, thus adding sin to sin: you set out to go down into Egypt", which would represent the world, "And you've not asked me what you should do. You flee to the stronghold of Pharaoh and to strengthen yourself in his strength and trust in the shadow of Egypt"! In other words, we're doing things the world's way, we're seeking advice from people who really don't even hardly know how to run their own life, let alone to run yours. And when we have trouble in our life, God doesn't want us to run to the phone, he wants us to run to the throne. He wants us to come to him and ask him what to do.
Now, he may direct you to go and talk to somebody, but let's always give God an opportunity first. "Therefore shall the strength and the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the refuge in the shadow of Egypt will be to your humiliation and your confusion". So, this scripture proves out what I said in the beginning, that when we move in the strength of our own flesh, we end up ashamed, humiliated, and confused. Be patient, go to God, and wait on him to do what needs to be done. All we have to do is look at Abraham and Sarah and see what a mess they caused by getting impatient and not waiting on God. God had promised them that they would have a child from their own bodies, and yet in the natural it was impossible. But God is the God of the impossible. What's impossible with man is possible with God. And I don't know what you might be going through right now, but I'm sure the devil is telling you it's just not possible.
Well, all things are possible with God. And so, they got tired of waiting on God and kinda cooked up a plan of their own. And Sarah asked Abram to take her handmaiden as his secondary wife and to have intercourse with her and get her pregnant. And then that way she would take that baby as her own. Well, any woman with half a brain is not gonna give her husband a second wife. That's trouble from the get-go. And sure enough, all it did was cause trouble. She did get pregnant, and she had a child named Ishmael. And Ishmael means man of war. And that's all it caused. And you know what? When we get into works of the flesh, that's what we get: just upset, and war, and trouble. And the more impatient we are, the more stress we have. And, you know, if you have enough stress long enough, it can make you sick.
How many times do we go to the doctor and they say, "It's just stress"? And that makes us angry when they tell us that. It's not that the symptoms aren't real, it's not even that the sickness isn't real, but the root cause of it is stress. And boy, today, life is so stressful, it's so noisy. And there's more people sick today than probably at any other time in history. And a lot of it is just the stress. God wants us to have peace. Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud and spirit". You know, a proud person will take matters into their own hands. They might wait on God for a little while, but then they decide, "Well, I'll do this". Or "Maybe God wants me to do this". They get what I call, bright ideas. "I know what I'll do". And then it doesn't work.
When you're impatient, you forfeit your peace and your joy. And you know, the Bible says, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink". It's not things. It's not even getting our own way. It's righteousness: being right with God. It's peace and it's joy in the Holy Ghost. And those three things are probably more valuable than anything else that you might be trying to get, that is frustrating you. Impatience causes us to get upset. It causes us to get angry. It causes frustration. And those are all things that we don't want to have in our life. A person who doesn't wait well will eventually see the results in his physical body.
Let me ask a few questions. Let me just propose a few scenarios to you. How do you act while you're waiting in line at the grocery store? Let's say that the clerk is new and she's not moving very fast. Or maybe she runs out of the right kind of change or something. Or the person in front of you doesn't have prices on a couple of their items and they have to send somebody off to find 'em. How do you act in situations like that? You know, our body language tells a lot about whether we're patient or not. How do you act when you have a slow clerk, or how do you act when you can't even find a clerk? I find a lot of times today, even in department stores, that they really don't have enough employees to service their customers well. And sometimes you wanna buy something, and you can't even find anybody to take your money. How are you in traffic? Hmm. How do you act when another driver does something that you think is really stupid? How do you act when something does not go your way?
So, we all have things that frustrate us, and the devil knows which buttons to push. And we need to know the things that upset us. Like for me, if I have to hurry, I'm gonna end up getting frustrated and probably saying or doing things that I shouldn't be doing. How do you act when someone doesn't understand your instructions the first time and you have to tell them again and maybe again, and again, and again? You know, you might be a person that learns really fast and maybe you're dealing with somebody that it just takes them a little bit longer. And we need to treat people the way we would like to be treated. How do you act when someone asks you for something, when you ask somebody for something, and they bring you something entirely different?
Dave and I order food to-go a lot, and it's a very interesting, but not always very pleasant. It is amazing, I mean, really amazes me how many times we order food to-go and when we get home, it's not what we ordered. So, we have learned that we check the order now before we leave so we can get it fixed so we can end up eating what we wanna eat. People don't listen a lot of times, especially, like, if you change anything on an order, that normally really causes confusion. What happens when you don't get your way? When things don't go the way you want them to? Can you be patient, pray and trust God, or do you get upset right away?
You know, I have to tell you, I was really proud of myself, one day, a couple of weeks ago. And maybe, I shouldn't have been proud of myself, 'cause that might be pride. But I saw through this incidence that I have, God has changed me so much over the years. I have a coffeepot that has a cylinder that you fill up with water on the back of it. And when I went to make my morning coffee, I noticed that it needed to have water added. So, I picked it up to add the water and somehow it slipped out of my hand. And it's like 4:30 in the morning and it hits the floor and water goes all over the floor. And I still am amazed that I did this. But I said, "Thank you, Lord. All things work out for good to those who love you and are called according to their purpose".
And it took me a while to get all the water cleaned up, but I passed the test. And you know what? You might as well pass your test, because one thing about God is you never fail in his school. You just keep taking the same test over and over until you finally pass them. So, let's just say you're not good in traffic. Well, you're gonna end up with slow people in front of you or people that do goofy things until you learn to be patient in those situations. It used to just be so hard for me, if I was in line and a clerk was trying to check out people and was slow or I had to wait for somebody to go get prices.
And now, I've learned, over about 45 years, I'm a slow learner sometimes, that really I'm not all that important that I can't wait a few minutes for somebody who's just learning how to do something and let them take a little more time than what I think they should. Don't let every little inconvenience stress you out because it's just gonna end up making you sick. Patience allows us to enjoy the moment that we're in. Do you know, the greatest present that God gives you is the present moment that you have, right now? But if we're impatient while we're in this moment, we're wanting to get into the next moment. My family teases me because I seem like I'm always one step ahead of where I'm at. Like, I'm a person that's ready.
So, when we pull into the subdivision, I'm ready to take my seat belt off. And if I don't take it off I've at least got my hand on it, ready to take it off the minute we pull into the driveway. And sometimes, we'll pull into the driveway, I take the seat belt off and then I'm already opening the car door, ready to get out before the car stops. And Dave is like, "Do you mind waiting until I stop the car before you get out of it"? Well, I'm learning, but I've told you in this area of patience, I've been kind of a slow learner. So, if it's taking you a while too, you don't have to feel bad because I know exactly how you feel.
But see, the moments that we have in life, because none of us ever knows how many more moments we're gonna have. We need to enter into those moments, and we need to be present in our present and not always be one step ahead of what we're doing. Impatient people don't enjoy the present because they want to get past the present moment and into the next one. Impatient people are never happy with right now, but they're always gonna be happy "When". "I'll be happy when the weekend comes. I'll be happy when it's payday. I'll be happy when it's time to go on vacation". Well, let's don't always be happy when, let's be happy now.
Now, we can look forward to things. "I'm looking forward to vacation. But I'm happy and peaceful, right now, also". I believe that one of the greatest tragedies in life is always wishing for something that you don't have. Joyce Meyer said this, "Enjoy where you're at on the way to where you're going". Impatiently rushing through ordinary things causes us to waste a lot of time in our lives because, you know, most of life is rather ordinary. It's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And here we are back to Monday.
And the Bible uses a farmer as an example and it says, "Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield is valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and the spring rains. You too, be patient, stand firm because the Lord's coming is near". You know, a farmer doesn't plow up the ground, put his seed in the ground, and then expect to go out the next morning and have a full crop. He knows when he puts his seed in the ground that he's gonna have to patiently wait. He's gonna need to water that garden. He's gonna need to keep the weeds away. He's gonna need to pray for the right sunshine and the right rain.
And sure enough, if he keeps up his "Patient vigil," the Bible calls it, over it. One morning, he'll walk out there, and little shoots will be coming out of the ground. And if it takes care of it, he'll have a crop. We have to do ordinary things with extraordinary patience and enjoy every moment that God gives us. Let me ask you a question. How much debt are you in because you didn't have the patience to wait and save money for what you wanted, but you kept putting things on charge cards until you were borrowing money on one charge card to pay off another one and just got yourself in a big mess? Patience is very valuable.