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You Can’t Hurry Patience, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 9:00 am

You Can’t Hurry Patience, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 5, 2024 9:00 am

In this teaching from the book of James, Pastor J.D. Greear shows us how even in the midst of suffering and the many challenges thrown at us by life, we can be sure that God is working all things for our good—we need only be patient and wait on him.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Welcome back to Summit Life, and thanks for joining us at the beginning of a life-transforming week of teaching here on the program. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today we're continuing our brand new teaching series through the book of James, and we're hearing what chapter five has to say about patience. Pastor J.D. shows us how even in the midst of suffering and the many challenges thrown at us by life, we can be sure that God is working all things for our good, and our job is to be patient and wait on Him. So I won't make you wait any longer.

Let's join Pastor J.D. in James chapter five right now. How do we develop patience? James is going to answer this through a couple of illustrations. Illustration number one is the farmer and the seed, verse seven. 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? So you also, you should be patient like that. What does a farmer do after he plants the seed?

Answer, very little. All he can do is wait. He's got to wait on the rains, which are totally out of his control. Sure, sure, he can put down some fertilizer, he can keep the crows away, but what happens after the farmer plants the seeds is mostly between the seed, the soil, and the weather. If the farmer is frustrated at the speed of the seed's growth, the worst possible thing he can do is dig up the seed and try to make it grow.

That'll do nothing but kill it. Here's his second illustration. The prophets in Job, verse 10. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Many of the prophets, you know, preached for years, meeting with nothing but persecution and opposition.

They weren't given big auditoriums, they weren't given book deals and big honorariums. They were given persecution and opposition before any of their prophecies came true. For example, think of Noah, Noah who seemed like a genuine crazy man, talking about a worldwide flood for 120 years before the first rain fell. Or how about Isaiah who wrote those beautiful words in Isaiah 53 about a suffering but victorious savior who would be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities and by whose stripes we would be healed, but whose own life ended not with a big book signing tour or a platinum worship album featuring all those great lyrics. No, no Isaiah's life ended, Jewish history tells us, with the rebellious, unbelieving king putting him into a hollowed-out log and cutting it into. Or Jeremiah who for extended periods of time was kept in a dungeon submerged up to his armpits in mud.

Then James points to one more person whose case is so special that he has to mention him directly by name. You've probably also heard, he says, of the steadfastness of Job. You've seen in his life the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Poor Job. Job was a man who had legitimately no idea about what God was doing in his life. There were things happening in the heavenly realm he had no knowledge of whatsoever and God allowed Satan to inflict on Job all kinds of pain, body pain, family pain, the death of his kids, marriage pain, friend pain. But Job never gave up. Job is the one who said in the midst of his pain, I know my redeemer lives and I know one day I will stand with him alive on the earth. You can see from Job that the purpose of the Lord is actually compassionate and merciful and Job's life, you and I get to have a glimpse of what God will ultimately do with all of us both in this life and in eternity.

We see that though the arc of God's goodness is long, it never stops bending toward goodness and will one day fully resolve into infinite goodness. And that was true even when Job couldn't feel it. Y'all, Job was the first one to sing. Even when I can't see it, you're working. Even when I can't feel it, you're working. You never stop.

You never stop working. In verse nine, James identifies the opposite of patience, the sign that you're not exercising it. Verse nine, do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged.

Behold, the judge is standing at the door grumbling. Grumbling, the word takes us back to Israel wandering in the wilderness because that's what characterized their 40-year experience, grumbling. They didn't trust God, so they grumbled against God and they started grumbling against each other, which is what always happens. You take out your frustrations with God and how he is letting your life go, you start taking that out on somebody else. You remember how in our study of chapter four, how we saw that our anger at one another is usually fueled by the fact that we're not getting what we want, which ultimately goes back to a problem between us and God?

Now again, like I said then, that's not to say the other person's not genuinely at fault, it's that ultimately your rage comes from something that has nothing to do with that person. You're not getting what you want. They're keeping you from it. The fact that it upsets you so much points to the presence of an idol in your life, which has nothing to do with them. That is against God. James says, don't grumble out your frustration with life and with God.

Don't take that out on each other. Even if that person really is at fault, don't dwell on it, don't sieve to get revenge or be vindicated. God will handle that, and God will be back real soon. You see that phrase that says the judge is standing at the door? If I know the judge is literally right there by the door, he's about to walk in, I don't need you to vindicate me.

I don't need social media to vindicate me. That judge is standing at the door, he's about to walk in and take care of it. I'm going to be like, just you shut up because dad will be back real soon. So those are James's examples of how to develop patience, the farmer and the prophets in Job. Now, using those two examples, can we just make this really, really practical? When you're in that season of long suffering, and some of you again are there this morning, how can you develop patience so that God can do his work in you? James tells you to look three places.

This is as practical as I can make it. He says, first, I need you to look backwards. Remember the purpose of the Lord that you saw in the prophets and in Job, how the Lord really is compassionate and merciful. Through the prophets in Job, you have seen what the Lord's purpose is and summit. Can I say that we've seen it now somewhere even more convincing than in the prophets in Job, in the cross and resurrection, we see the purpose of the Lord, how he is indeed compassionate and merciful, more compassionate and merciful than any of them ever even imagined. Though we endure a crucifixion on Friday, we now know there's always a resurrection coming on Sunday. Though weeping lasts for a night, joy comes in the morning. And in the cross and resurrection, pay attention here.

Watch this. In the cross and resurrection, we see that there's a time gap between the suffering and the resurrection. By the way, you ever wonder after Jesus died, why he wasn't resurrected immediately? He's crucified on a Friday afternoon, but he wasn't resurrected until Sunday morning. Honestly, I can get God waiting at least until the morning, give it a full night to prove that he's dead. Plus morning resurrection is more symbolic with the sun coming up and everything. It's better for the little postcards we would make one day about it.

So I get waiting until the next morning, but why wait another whole day? I mean, how hard must that have been for those disciples, the Messiah that they trusted themselves to and left everything to follow. The Messiah was dead. They were confused. Their whole world had come crashing down. They didn't know where to go. They were lost.

They just hid for like all that time. Why wait a whole full two days before resurrecting? All that delay was in part because so much of our lives feel like we live on that second day. It's that middle space of pain, that middle space of delayed gratification where we're like, God, where are you? Where's your goodness?

When's this answer going to come? It's like you're completely gone. Listen, y'all, our Bibles, you ever notice this? They're filled with three day stories. Abraham's got to walk up a mountain for two days thinking he's going to sacrifice Isaac until Genesis says, on the third day, God stopped them and provided a ram as a substitute.

Esther fasted and prayed to stop a genocide directed against her people. And the king, it says, changed his mind on the third day. The question is why a day in between the desperation and the salvation?

Why isn't every three day story a two day story instead? It's because God is producing pearls of faith and steadfastness in our lives. And pearls take time. And pearls take patience. And so James says, in a time of waiting, look backwards and see how God has worked in the past.

And then he says, book number two, forward. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand. That word established means become fixed like concrete. Throughout this book, James has talked about unstable people like the wind, like grass, like a wave of the sea. This word established concrete implies the opposite of that. The way we become established, James says, is by how? How do we become established? Look at your Bibles.

What's he say? We establish our hearts by reflecting on the coming of the Lord. The fact that it is at hand, which means it's relatively soon. Remember our illustration from last week that we talked about the rope. This little red section right here represents your life. And this section right here represents eternity. This little time period that we call life seems so long sometimes. But it's a teeny tiny fraction of eternity. And any suffering you experience now in that red part is more than made up for in the expanse of eternity. And that's relatively close he says.

Now I do want to be clear here. We can and should expect the end breaking of God's goodness into our lives now. You quote King David in the land of the living. David's like, look, I don't want to just praise you in heaven. I'm going to praise you in heaven. It's going to be awesome in eternity, but I want to celebrate your goodness and your answers to prayer now in the land of the living.

Job experienced that. Many of the prophets experienced that too. We should pray for the end breaking of God's goodness and we should expect it. But the point remains for some things to get to that final resolution, we got to wait until eternity for the pearl. God promises he's working all things in our lives for good, but sometimes we can't see it. And we got to wait until eternity to see full resolution.

James says, hang on, it won't be long. The Lord is at hand. I can't help when I say that, but think of some of the old rich Negro spirituals that arose out of the suffering of black Christians in slavery, blatant, outright injustice that looked at them like it would have never ended.

And in many cases it didn't have an end in their lifetime. They died in those earthly chains of oppression, but they defiantly sang like James instructs them to here. Jordan river is deep and wide, hallelujah. Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah. Swing low sweet chariot, coming forth to carry me home.

These slaves felt as if they had nothing on this earth, so they waited eagerly for him. Maybe you feel like there's no resolution ahead for you. And I'll be honest, I wish I could, but I can't stand up here and tell you that all relief is right around.

I mean, just give it to the Mars, it's gonna be fine. I can't promise you that you're not gonna die in pain. I can't promise you that your life will end without suffering. I can't promise you that you'll escape all the shame, but I can't promise you that you can die singing Jordan river is deep and wide, hallelujah.

Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah. What I can promise you is that God has heard every prayer and will answer every single one and will work everything in your life for good, making pearls out of all of it, just like he promised. You are listening to summit life with pastor JD Greer.

We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to give you one more chance to get ahold of our featured resource for this month. You see so many people have a desire to know God, but they have no clue where to begin. Well, let me tell you, memorizing scripture can be a great place to start. No matter how well we know God, we all could use a little work on our foundation, strengthening it each day. We must keep putting the word of God into our hearts so that when life cuts us, we bleed the wisdom found in the word of God. So this month we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards for you to help you carry God's promises every day. Being able to share the scriptures in a moment of need can be such a blessing to you and to those that you're trying to encourage. So commit to memorizing more of his word in 2024 than ever before. Just a quick reminder, today is your last day to reserve your set of memory cards.

So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or head over to jdgreer.com. Now let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's pastor JD. Eugene Peterson wrote a great little book on the Psalms in which he pointed out that while a lot of the Psalms contain these heartfelt cries of, where are you God? Some of the Psalms he points out even end without clear resolution to that question. There are Psalms that are just like, God, I don't understand you.

Where are you? You've forsaken me. I'm the worst person on earth. I don't understand. He said, while that's true about a lot of the Psalms, the last six Psalms, Psalms 145 through 150 are nothing but praise.

Go back and read them sometime. There's no request in there. There's no cries of, where are you God? There are no lamentations.

There are no complaints. It's all just praise. Eugene Peterson's conclusion, the way the Psalms are arranged is meant to show you that any prayer followed far enough will eventually turn into pearls of praise. Soon enough, you and I are going to sing the praise of these Psalms like Psalm 145. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him.

He hears their cry and he saves them. All your works, including me, all your works, oh Lord, will praise you. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all generations. One day, I'm going to say that from my heart because all those prayers that I prayed, all of that suffering, I'm going to see how all of it worked for good and all of it's going to end in praise because it all happened exactly like God promised it would happen. So see, we look backwards. We look forwards. There's one more direction we look, upwards. That's the God in prayer, but that's what we'll get to, Lord willing, next week because it's the next eight verses.

So for now, let me close with this. Tim Keller says there are at least three places where God produces pearls in our life through patience. The first one, let's just call them pearls of skill.

Those are my words, not his, but I think you can summarize it that way. Pearls of skill. Nothing really worth anything in your life.

You know this, parents, elbow your teenager if they're in here when I say this. Nothing in your life that's really valuable can happen in one click. No skill you develop that makes you able to make a living is one click.

It's like Malcolm Gladwell says, to get good at anything, it takes at least 10,000 hours of patient, repetitive practice. For most good things in your life, you need middle space. You need a day two of waiting before day three of realization.

Pearls of grace, let's call that number two. Genuine friendships and solid marriages, listen, some of you feel like I know this, you don't. They take time and grace and some of you don't have space and patience for the kind of relational give and take that it actually takes to form a good friendship. Let me go back to that Psychology Today article that I quoted at the beginning.

That article said that one of the reasons people are having so much trouble maintaining relationships today is that we don't have relational middle space. If somebody treats us unjustly, somebody sins against us or disappoints us or even annoys us, culture says, cut them. You don't need that baggage in your life, cancel them. If they're not helping you get to the destination you want to get to, cut them. Find better friends, join a new small group, find a new church. Y'all listen, real friendships, pearls of friendships only grow in the soil of grace. Yes, yes, the Bible tells us to confront people when they're in error.

And there is certainly a time to end a relationship particularly if it's abusive. But the Bible points to an enormous middle space of grace in our relationships and it says things like, it's a man's glory to overlook an offense. It tells us to bear with one another, it tells us to turn the other cheek or love covers a multitude of sins.

I'm just going to tell you right now, if you call out people every time they slight you, if you cut them off every time they disappoint you, you're never going to have any community and you're going to end up lonely. You'll feel righteously indignant about how righteous you are on that little island of self-righteousness you call loneliness. Real friendships, pearls of friendships can only grow in the soil of grace. Finally, pearls of faith, the confidence that God has up to something good even when things feel bad.

The confidence Peter says is more valuable even than gold. Tim Keller says it like this, he says, every hour something will come along in your life that you bristle at, every hour. When that happens, you're at a fork in the road. You can either say, I trust God. I'm going to be patient with what God is doing right now. That person may be annoying me, but I'm going to trust God that he's got a good purpose for me in it. And then you can sleep easily. Or you can say, I trust my understanding of what needs to happen and develop an ulcer. It's up to you.

Good night's sleep, ulcers, up to you. Pearls of faith or pulmonary embolisms, you're choice. Tim Keller's definition of faith, or patience, excuse me. Patience is graciousness, steadiness and faithfulness in the face of delayed gratification. Church, I told you at the beginning, the patience is hard for me. And so I can tell you from experience that I know how difficult it is to wait. And maybe that's you right now. And some of you are even going to be tempted to walk away from God in a time of waiting.

But could you just think on and just think with me on why that's a terrible decision. I agree with Philip Yancey and his book, Disappointment with God. He says the only thing worse than disappointment with God is disappointment without God. You see with Jesus, even though sometimes I don't understand him, I have the confidence that though my weeping lasts for a night, I know joy is coming in the morning. You see, I know that because the Redeemer who died for me on a Friday and seemed absent on a Saturday resurrected with power on a Sunday.

And that's a picture of what he's going to be doing in my life. I know my Redeemer lives and soon I'm going to stand with him victorious on the earth. I've quoted Tim Keller a lot in this message. Recently, you may know Dr. Keller went home to be with Jesus. I had the privilege of attending his funeral in New York City. It was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Tim had struggled for the last several years with very painful, aggressive version of pancreatic cancer and there were literally thousands of us across the country praying that God would heal him. It goes another 10, 15 years with Tim Keller.

He's so valuable to us. And the funeral was moving, of course, but it was a normal funeral except right at the very end. We all stood together and we sang together this old Keith Green song. There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son, precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One. Thank you, O my Father, for sending us your Son and leaving your spirit until your work on earth is done. When I stand in glory, I will see his face and there I'll praise my King forever in that holy place. See, supposedly for the first decade or so of Tim Keller's church in Manhattan, the church he planted, it was called Redeemer Presbyterian.

They sang that at the end of every single service and so it perfectly captured Tim's life and his message as well as how he struggled and how he died and what he now sees. There is a Redeemer. Y'all, that means I can wait.

There is a Redeemer. It means that all is worth it. It means eternity is worth it.

It's actually not that far away. Faithfulness is worth it. I can wait. Jesus is worthy of my patience. There is a Redeemer, which means I can be Stoy K. Musik because he was Stoy K. Musik, a standing man, and he stands by my side because he stood in my place.

We have a Redeemer who makes the weight, any weight, worth it. What a powerful teaching today from Pastor JD Greer. As we wrap up our series in the book of James this week, I want to remind you that you can catch up on any of the sermons you might've missed at jdgreer.com.

Well, JD, today is the final day for our listeners to get a hold of one of our most popular featured resources. It's our set of 52 scripture memory cards. Why is it important for us as adults to keep up this practice of memorizing God's word? You know, I love that you asked the question that way because, I mean, even in churches like ours, it's like memorization is what the kids do.

But why would adults exempt themselves from that? Jesus, when he resisted Satan, quoted scripture. And so if Jesus needed that, then certainly JD Greer does, and so do you. God calls us to memorize his word. He says, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. How can a young man or an older man cleanse his way by taking heat according to God's word? It renews your mind. It transforms you.

It gives you hope when you're in the midst of darkness and it gives you power when you're in the midst of temptation. So to help you on this incredible and essential journey of scripture memorization, we've prepared something for you here at Summit Life called our Summit Life scripture memory cards, 52, one for each week of the year that are a fantastic tool to aid you in the memorization of scripture. Don't wait on this. Go right now and secure your set today at jdgreer.com. The 2024 scripture memory cards come with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Give and request your set when you call 866-335-5220. One more time, that's 866-335-5220. Or you can request the set when you donate online at jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vinovitch inviting you to join us Tuesday for a brand new teaching titled Prayers that Heal the Sick and Alter the Weather.

And with a title like that, you know you don't want to miss it. We'll see you Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 11:27:06 / 2024-02-10 11:37:06 / 10

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