The Bible tells us to be . . .
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
The only way to patience is . . .
” . . . when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need.” – James 1:2-4
As you reflect on the sermon on the Fruit of the Spirit, Patience, what are a couple key points that hit home with you? What new thoughts or convictions were triggered for you?
Group Interaction – Invite
What ways did you bring peace, or choose to be a peacemaker this past week?
By choosing obedience over control did you experience God’s peace differently?
When you are at the grocery store, do you switch lines when one seems to be moving faster? Do you keep track of the person you were behind to see if you made the right decision?
Text – Observe
“Lord, grant me patience and I want it right now!” How many of us have prayed a prayer similar to that? The truth is we are not patient people. God, on the other hand, is patient. That is good news, isn’t it. His Word tells us He is long suffering, patient.
In 1 Timothy 1:15-16, Paul writes, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Oh how grateful I am that God is patient with my sins. We often fall into the trap of thinking we’re “good people,” and yes, we were created in the image of God so there is good in us. But we are also fallen. We can never hope to measure up to the perfect standard of a holy God.
God in His patience continues to extend His grace to us. When we fall back into the same habitual sin that we’ve fallen into
a thousand times before, when we fail to learn a lesson that God is trying to teach us, when we mistreat one of His children whom He loves, God is still there, extending grace, forgiving, restoring.
Read Matthew 18:23:35
“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
When some of the other servants saw this, they
were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant!
I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Explore: Patience with Others
In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders taught that you should forgive someone three times, so Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, comes to Jesus and asks, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” (Matthew 18:21b)
Peter thought he would impress Jesus by being willing to forgive more than twice what is required!
But Jesus replies, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!” And then he went on to tell the story quoted in the scripture above. In that story, the master is God, we are the servant with the massive debt, and the fellow servant represents the people in our lives who have wronged us. Essentially, God is saying we need to extend the same forgiveness and patience to others that He has extended to us. Consider that as you answer the following:
Who are the people in your life with whom you need to be more patient?
There is a common saying that goes, “We only hurt the ones we love.” How does that ring true when it comes to impatience and holding grudges?
What triggers impatience with others in your life?
What are some practical things you can do to cultivate patience with others?
How do you see patience and forgiveness are related?
Is there someone from whom you are withholding forgiveness? Why? What would it look like to forgive them? Who would benefit the most from forgiving them? Who is harmed the most from withholding forgiveness?
Pick a couple of these to live out being on mission every day:
- Pray for three people with whom you need to be more patient.
- Each time you find yourself in line this week, let someone else go ahead of you, or let someone in front of you in traffic.
- Schedule a call or meeting with someone you need to forgive, or ask for forgiveness – no matter how big or small.
- Talk to your children about how to ask for forgiveness when they have hurt someone’s feelings.