Impatience and Complaining

Sermon Passages: James 5:7–11; Philippians 2:14–15.

7 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.

Sermon Notes

We're impatient, but the pain of today isn't forever.

James says our life is like farming: today's pail leads to tomorrow's fruit.

"There's no way any good can come from my situation," we say as we see the wasteland of our lives.

But the rain makes the harvest grow. Everything and everyone in your life is put there by God to make you grow. God brings fruit from the wasteland just as he brings the dead to life and just as he turns sinners into the saved.

We're impatient when people or situations don't change as fast as we want them to, but God's schedule is the best schedule. We think we're in control and get angry when irritating reminders snap us out of this delusion that the best life possible for us is the one we define for ourselves.

Complaining only draws attention to the evil and darkness in the world, but we're the to be the light of the world, pointing people to the gospel (Phil 2:14–15).

Hold onto this: You don't understand God's plan for your life, but you know God is good. Cling to God's good character and trust that his plan is better than yours. His plan will be revealed when Christ returns.

Our heart grows weary of trusting that God's plan is the best plan only when we don't have our anchor cemented in something permanent: the good character of God. An established or strengthened heart has unimaginable patience because it is okay with God's plan. It knows that everything in life is watering the future harvest.

Don't complain about the rain that's producing your future harvest.

How much is too much patience?

You only run out of patience when you forget that God's plan is better than yours.

Challenge: Have irrationally bold confidence in God's character. What if your patience never ran out and you never complained again? What if that person never changes and you never lost patience? This won't happen tomorrow, but you can grow a little bit every day. You can stop complaining and grow in patience because of the strength of Christ that is in you to overcome sin. Where are you most likely to be impatient? You can say, No.

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