Western Trail Cowboy Church
The Power of Patience
- IntroductionWe have all seen movies with Snipers in them. Some are very far fetched on the abilities of men shooting but one thing they all have in common because it is the truth is the shooter must have extreme patience. There are times where a sniper waits for hours and days on end. Sometimes in extreme circumstances only gaining a few feet per day. But in all this he knows that eventually, the proper conditions will arise to be taken advantage of.These men do not just get set up and take a shot and that’s it. No, they slip in undetected and scan the area. They find the perfect spot and set up and sometimes they stalk their target until the time is right.They are focused and ready at any time for this to happen. But they have to remain calm and steady until they are back at base with a mission complete.This type of patience is not something that they have naturally. Sure, some have good patience naturally, but this type of patience is not natural. it is trained into them.They suffer through intense training and suffering to become the deadliest men in the world. But this training is not just a once and done. No, it is ongoing so they can maintain their ability to remain patient.This is what James is telling us in this section. He is saying “Be patient,” “wait,” “establish your hearts,” look at others who are “an example of suffering and patience,” look at those “who remained steadfast,” and finally trust in the Lord only and not yourselves.That is why i titled this “The Power of Patience” because when we practice patience over and over again we become like those bodybuilders we have all seen. They have muscles on muscles which translates over to us, patience on our patience. We can endure much more when we continually train our patience like the sniper continually trains to remain focused ad ready.This is exactly what James has been saying. This is the beginning of the conclusion of this epistle where James continues to guide us to be slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to anger. Patience in practice is how we can perform all of those.The text reads James 5:7-127 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. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 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. 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.Patience for the coming of the Lord is the main theme in this section. What this means is that we can be patient in our lives because we know Jesus is coming again. He will come back and right every wrong that has happened. He will fix everything that was twisted. he will correct everything that is filled with injustice. Jesus is what we wait for and He is the one who will make everything perfect and right.That is not us or anything this world offers nor is it anyone else in the world, it is only Jesus. And when we fix our eyes on Him we can have the patience to make it through everything this rank and harsh world will throw at us.This is so because…The Power of Patience is In Our Ability to Wait (7-8)James tells us and the original recipients that we need to wait and rest in the fact Jesus is coming. We can have that patience when we look at life through that lens.He uses the example of a farmer waiting on his crop to come up and wait on the rains to come.This is a great illustration because farmers and cowboys alike know that waiting on rain can be frustrating.What we all do know is that no amount of gripping or complaining makes it come any sooner. We cannot make it rain no matter how much we try to. We are not capable to do that so we wait for the rain because there is nothing else we can do.This is what James is saying about patience. The world throws some really tough things at us, we need to be patient because Jesus is returning.People will do us wrong and terrorize us. We can have patience because we know Jesus is coming and He will make things right when He arrives.Just like the farmer who waits for the rain to grow his crop, we can wait on Jesus to correct the wrongs we have suffered. Practicing patience gives the power of patience to wait and not return evil for evil. It gives us the ability to wait for the Lord.We can have this power when we establish our hearts for this coming. Establish simply means, to become inwardly firm and committed. We can become this way when we go to the Lord for wisdom. He will give it generously to all who ask for it. He will guide us because He has given us His Holy Spirit who is our guide into all truth.God has given us all we need through the glorious Lord and savior Jesus Christ who has given us all who are His the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us. We are not left alone in this wicked and depraved world. We have a guide who can carry us through if we rest in Him who sent Him.We can wait faithfully and not become bitter and hate filled through trials and tests and temptation when we have committed in our inner self to be firmly set upon the Lord and His power and return. Our joy is that return. Paul calls it our blessed hope in Titus. Paul also says that the Lord Jesus will reward all who have love his appearing. When we focus on Jesus in everything in life we can make it through.But, when we focus on His return, we can be patient and wait well because we know He is the only one who can make this world do what it is supposed to do.The Power of patience is in our ability to wait but…The Power of Patience Is Strength to Endure(9-11)Patience does not only give us power to wait but to endure. Just like what I just said, when we focus on the Lord Jesus we can be patient and wait well. We can also not become bitter and grumblers.The Judge is standing at the door. This means that the return of the Lord could be at any moment. This is the imminency of the Savior’s return. If we are grumbling and complaining about one another we have a grudge and a complaining spirit in us. Jesus is the judge of us all, as Paul wrote earlier in Romans “why do you pass judgment on your brother…why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…each of us will give an account of himself to God…let us not pass judgment on one another any longer....” (Rom. 14:10-13).We endure and have a steadfastness about us when we feel compelled to strike back. We endure when we feel like the other person is wrong and insulting us.Like a story from Charles Swindoll. He said several years ago he was at a grocery store getting out of his vehicle and the guy next to him was very close. He wiggled out but slightly bumped the other vehicle.The man inside was glaring with hatred at him. He took a cloth and buffed the “bump” and it was nothing. It didn’t even leave a mark. So he looked at the man and apologized but said there was not a mark on the vehicle.With this he took his young son and headed to the store. He said something in him said turn around. He did in time to see the man from the other vehicle opening his door and slamming it into Swindoll’s car over and over.Swindoll’s hackles were raised and he instantly wanted to go snap the mans neck. He looked at him a moment and decided that it would be pointless so he turned around and walked into the store.He endured a little foolish ignorance from a person who was caught up in the world. Had he attacked he may have whipped the man, but what good would that have done? None. The, man would have still been lost and when he found out it was a pastor who did it, probably hold a grudge against the church and God for that.Endurance of wrongs committed and insults hurled are part and parcel of the Christian walk. David did not have his men kill Shimei when he was fleeing from Absalom and Shemei was pelting him with rocks. David said no we will not kill him, let him curse me, “it may be that the Lord will look at the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (2 Sam. 16:12).Enduring some hardships and insults is nothing for the person who is internally committed and established in the Lord. We see this world as lost and depraved and we do not allow it to bring us down. Just like the prophets that James uses. They had a hard job. They preached to people and told them exactly what was going to happen in minute details.The people rejected and did what they wanted. The prophets were jailed, beaten, killed, insulted and rejected. Yet, they kept going and sharing with these people because they were established in the Lord and knew this is what they must do. They did not waver because of insults but kept going.Job lost everything and his friends were less than friends. He did not waver from his commitment to God. he did not blame God or even the world. He did say it would have been better for him to have not been born but he endured and did receive great blessings.So, back to the grumbling against one another. The judge is at the door. We do not know when He will enter, we just know He will enter soon. In a courtroom you are to be quiet and reverent regardless what your feelings are when the judge enters.This is what James is saying to us. We need to not be bitter against one another because of some wrong committed in this world. This world that is fading away. This world that is wilting and dying. Jesus is coming again, He is closer than entering than we all know. Why be bitter when we have that blessed hope coming in soon?We can be like Swindoll and king David when insulted and treated harshly. We can be like the prophets and Job when everyone else seems to be against us. We can endure when we are internally firm and commited to the Lord. When we have Him as our guide and strength we can be strong because we are giving all the ill will and pain to Him to bear.Guess what? He wants you and me to do that. He knows we cannot handle all that. He knows we cannot do it. But He knows He can and will do it for us. He said to bring all our burdens to him and He would carry it and give us rest. He allows us to be tested so we will demonstrate the level of our faith. Whether it is in ourselves or in Him.He bore the shame at the cross for us and He is still daily interceding and helping us. He is for us and not against us. He wants us to live a life of joy and peace. We can do that when we endure through the harshness of the world through His power of patience working through us. So why would we ever want to place faith on ourselves and not Him?If we think we can make it on our own, we will do what James next tells us not to do: make oaths. When we rest on our powers and abilities, we make plans without God as we looked at the last two weeks, or we make oaths to people that we cannot keep.So, the power of patience is in our ability to endure but it is also…The Power of Patience is Faith in The Lord (12)Swearing an oath, saying we will do something that we more than likely cannot do, is what trying to get back at those who cause us grief and suffering is about.One commentator said of this, “The patient believer is to be one who answers his accusers with simplicity and with confidence in the God of mercy.” (Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 228.)The power of patience is Faith in the Lord. we have patience because we rest in the Lord. We have patience because we have given it all to the Lord. We have patience in every situation because Jesus is working through us.But when we swear oaths we can easily fall into hypocrisy. Anytime we swear to God to do something, or swear to God that something will happen and it does not we have done two things against God.We have taken His name in vain by including Him in a sinful swearing.We have become hypocrites when it does not happen as we said it would. We have fallen into hypocrisy and did not even realize this.If you feel this last statement is a bit much think about Peter when he denied Christ. He swore an oath that he did not know Him. That was hypocrisy at its most. We do the same thing if we openly and clearly deny knowing something or someone to avoid some ill treatment. It is hypocrisy, subtle, but hypocrisy still the same.This is what faith misplaced does for us. We do not have the patience to endure a little harsh treatment and we swear an oath that makes us a hypocrite and that leads to us fall under condemnation.This takes us back once again to having our hearts firmly established in the Lord. Having that internal commitment to Him alone will help us in these situations. This section is saying to us all to have “endurance of heart and integrity of speech when the pressures of life...lead [us] to despair or compromise.” (Robert L. Plummer, “James,” in Hebrews–Revelation, ed. Iain M. Duguid, James M. Hamilton Jr., and Jay Sklar, vol. XII, ESV Expository Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 280.)As an illustration. in the courtroom if on the stand you are asked to swear an oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you do not tell the truth then you are liable to end up in jail for perjury. You will suffer condemnation.As harsh as that is, if we do this and it is against the Lord we will stand before the Judge of Judges and King of kings one day and that work will be before Him. So, when the world comes down on us we can stand firm and and endure because our faith is in the Lord and not ourselves.We are patiently waiting on His return because He is the true and perfect Judge who will correct all wrongs. We will endure when we have an internal commitment to the lord and Him alone. We will be able to practice all this and grow in our patience when we have our faith in the Lord alone.We can do this and become faithful patient saints in the lord when we rest in Him and His power alone. When we give all our hurts and stress to Him. When we give up on being in control of our lives and let the Lord Jesus Christ have the control.When we do this we will love Him and see the pain and hurt in others when they lash out at us. We will begin to see that they are attacking because they do not know or maybe have forgotten the amazing love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.When we see this we can then begin to be like the sniper from the beginning and “stalk” them and wait for the perfect time to strike and share salvation and grace through Jesus Christ to them.ConclusionThe purposes of God often develop slowly because His grand designs are never hurried. The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was noted for his poise and quiet manner. At times, however, even he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion. "What's the trouble, Mr. brooks?" he asked."The trouble is that I'm in a hurry, but God isn't!" Haven't we felt the same way many times?Some of the greatest missionaries of history devotedly spread the seed of God's Word and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts. William Carey, for example, labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ in Burma, and Adoniram Judson toiled 7 years before his faithful preaching was rewarded. In western Africa, it was 14 years before one convert was received into the Christian church. In New Zealand, it took 9 years; and in Tahiti, it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began.Thomas a Kempis described that kind of patience in these words: "He deserves not the name of patient who is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing) from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior...But from whomever, or how much, or how often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!" (Our Daily Bread, http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/patience.htm).Suffering and struggles are gain in the Lord.A.B. Simpson a great pastor of the past said once,"Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now." Yes, each day affords countless opportunities to learn patience. Let's not waste them.In patience we live joyous lives because we trust the Lord over anything else and we know He will deliver us when it is the time. Let us always rest in the Lord and quit resting in ourselves.