In James 5:7-11 and 1 Peter 2:19-23 we read of the importance of having patience as a Christian. Each of us have trials requiring patience that can put even the most patient human to the test. The key to avoiding the mistake of impatience, however, is to have a plan to deal with it in advance. Following is a summary of such a plan taken from James 5.
1. Watch the weather (James 5:7)
Just as the farmer must patiently wait on the weather to nourish the crops, God allows us to wait on his intervention. Between the early and late rains a dry spell often occurs. In the same way, Christians often face a dry spell between the recognition of a need and the provision for that need, but God is always at work during the dry spell.
2. Focus on the future (James 5:8-9)
When things go wrong, it is easy to spend our energy thinking about the problem and growing impatient. Rather than stewing on the problem, we can look to the future and the end result. We can focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. This will make it easier to practice patience when we see the end result.
3. Expect hardship (James 5:10)
In order to avoid impatience, we must practice patience. Unfortunately, this is developed over time through suffering and temptation. If you look at the prophets, their life was often a war zone, but more often than not, they patiently endured the hardship. In the middle of their hardship, God was always watching over them and encouraging them to endure with patience. Likewise, God is with you in your hardship. Knowing that trials of many kinds are part of the Christian walk will help you avoid impatience.
4. Express your blessings (James 5:11)
As previously stated, we often focus on what is going wrong. Imagine how it would increase patience if you were to focus on what’s going right! Imagine how patient we could be if we actually did count our many blessings. No matter the hardship or anxiety, there is always something to thank God for.
While impatience is ingrained in our fast-paced world where there exists instant everything, Christians are called to go against the grain and avoid the mistake of impatience.
What is God asking you to be patient about?