4 Ways to Overcome Impatience (Sermon on James 5:7-12)

Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Point 1: Overcome Impatience at Wrongs in the World By Remembering that Justice Is Coming (James 5:7-8)

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)

  • One of the main triggers for impatience is when wrongs really are done to you. When you are right and others are wrong, it is easy to become impatient with the situation. When you actually deserve justice you will feel “justified” to be impatient. People are never more impatient than when they feel they have the right to be upset.
  • To overcome this type of impatience, we must remember that judgement will always come. People will either pay for their own sins or their sins will be paid for by the sufferings of Christ. But no wrong will ever be left unpunished. When you remember that justice will always be done, this helps you to have patience in the present.
  • “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” Psalm 37:1-2

Point 2: Overcome Impatience By Not Complaining (James 5:9)

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” (James 5:9)

  • Grumbling accomplishes nothing but condemning the person who grumbles. If you complain about the sins someone else is doing, all you are doing is sinning in the process.
  • Complaining never actually solves a problem. It only feeds the fire of frustration within us. All it does is make the problem bigger in our minds. Sometimes the best ways to overcome impatience is to not talk about a problem. In our culture we are constantly told to share our feeling. Sometimes we should but sometimes we shouldn’t. If we have to talk about every little problem that occurs in life we will make life much harder than it needs to be. Sometimes you just need to move on and forget about what happened. Complaining drags it out.
  • Other times, however, you really do need to talk with someone about a problem you are experiencing. There’s a difference between confiding in a friend and complaining with a friend. Confiding is when you are seeking counsel and focusing on a solution. Complaining is when you are focusing on the problem and are simply expressing your frustration.
  • “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” Philippians 2:14-15
  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Point 3: Overcome Impatience By Remembering the Examples of the Prophets (James 5:10-11)

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10-11)

  • Why are the examples of the prophets helpful to us as we seek to overcome impatience? A prophet would speak what would happen in the future but he had to wait to be proved right. They were proved right but just not immediately. Likewise, to be patient you must look to the future that will occur if you remain faithful to God in the present. If you are going to resist sin and delay immediate gratification, you will need to look for the joy you will get in the future.
  • If you want to be patient you have to remember all the examples in Scripture where people were proved right but they had to be patient. Job is a great example. He had much, suffered, lost much, but in the end he was blessed with even more than he lost, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part” (Job 42:12).

Point 4: Don’t Try to Rush God (James 5:12)

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” (James 5:12)

  • This verse’s wisdom is obvious but it’s placement seems a bit odd. Why does James include this during a passage about patience. I think the reason is that no matter what you promise or what you swear to God, you cannot rush God. When you try to rush God you end up sinning and becoming impatient. People swear and plead with extra oaths when they want something now but God is not giving it now. This will lead to impatience. But if you just submit to God and don’t try to push the will of God forward with your promises to God, you will be patient. Just say Yes to God and No to sin and embrace God’s plan. That’s how you can be patient, but submitting to God’s will.