Impatience is the next glass ceiling we place in our lives. These are the limits we bounce off every time, flaws in character and belief that place a glass ceiling in our lives preventing us from reaching our full potential in Christ.
Today I want to look at Kings Saul and Davis again, and at the ceiling of impatience. I don’t know about you, but I really need to hear this because this is a ceiling I hit time and time again!
GIVE ME PATIENCE, LORD… IMMEDIATELY!
A young girl was praying with her mum, and she asked for a new doll. When the prayer finished, she demanded to know where the doll was. Her mum told her that God sometimes takes time to answer us, and that she should be patient, but the girl answered, “Great, I’ve been praying to an answering machine!”
And some of us feel like that. We feel like God doesn’t answer because He is not listening. For many of us, He has great things planned for us, a great destiny into which we should walk, but we get impatient! He hears, He is lining things up, He is preparing the way for us, but we get impatient and act on our own instead of waiting for and trusting in Him.
This was a huge glass ceiling for King Saul. Here’s an example… Saul faced the Philistines, and Samuel told Saul to wait until he came and offered sacrifice.
1 Samuel 13:8-9 (ESV Strong's)
He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering.
Saul knew he had to wait, but once again fear rose up and he bounced up against this glass ceiling of impatience. Samuel then arrived and asked, “What have you done?”
1 Samuel 13:12-14 (ESV Strong's)
I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Impatience cost Saul his destiny, and it will cost us if we are not open to God!
I WANT MY MARSHMALLOW NOW!
Stanford University conducted a famous psychological experiment in 1972 on preschool children, where they were given a marshmallow and told that they could eat it now, but if they waited and didn’t eat it for a time, they would get 2 marshmallows. It’s called delayed gratification.
Many kids were impatient, taking the here and now over the promise of greater things to come, but a few waited. Then researchers tracked these children over decades, and found those who could wait scored higher academically, we’re less prone to obesity and poor heath and generally achieved more in life.
THE FRUIT OF IMPATIENCE
Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of WAIT. As we learn to be patient and wait on the Lord, we can actually be renewed, strengthened and grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV Strong's)
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Patience is listed in Galatians 5 as a fruit of the Spirit, which makes impatience a fruit of the flesh. And the fruit of impatience can debilitated our lives and rob us of our destiny…
1. IMPATIENCE IS SELFISH
At its root, impatience is selfishness. It’s all about us! We are impatient with other drivers because they are in our way, especially when we are late. We are impatient with friends and family because they’re not keeping to our time frame.
Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV Strong's)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
We live in the most impatient time in history. Today, if it doesn’t happen fast enough we move on, and according to Time Magazine, the average attention span of a person is eight seconds, compared to a goldfish at 9 seconds! We have microwave meals, instant downloads and instant coffee. We have fast cars, fast food and fast morals. I heard about a microwave TV, where you can watch 60 minutes in just 3 minutes.
And, in the age of the selfie, our fast paced life is centred on us, and what we want! Never before have so many photos been taken of so many people doing so little! Impatience is selfishness, not wanting to wait for what I want, and it is not looking to the interests of anyone else except you.
2. IMPATIENCE CAUSES ANXIETY
You’re in the check out line, there are people everywhere and the store has 2 lines open. And yours is the longest, with a checkout person moving at glacial speed. This is where you’ll feel impatience causing anxiety.
Proverbs 12:25 (ESV Strong's)
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Impatience increases blood pressure, brings about release of stress-related hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, etc, increases risk of heart disease and causes many more effects. Eventually weight gain, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, and often early death. Impatience weighs you down with anxiety and stress, but the Bible says,
Psalms 37:7-8 (ESV Strong's)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
The Hebrew for “fret” means heat, to burn, and when we are impatient you can feel that heat rising, can’t you! Surely we have enough stress in life from without that we don’t need to pile more stress upon ourselves from within by virtue of impatience!
3. IMPATIENCE CAUSES DISBELIEF
Impatience robs us of the results we want, we start to lose belief if what we are trusting for seems delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV Strong's)
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
The more impatient we get with God, the more we will lose what He has for us, because impatience is actually disbelief. I place a seed in the ground, and I have to be patient. If I keep digging it up to check on it, I won’t see the fruit I desire. James says this…
James 5:7-8 (ESV Strong's)
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. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Impatience robs us of our belief, and belief is faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
4. IMPATIENCE CAUSES DISUNITY
Ephesians 4:2-3 (ESV Strong's)
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
When you get impatient, others pick up on it, and trust me, they are not drawn closer. In fact, they are often turned off and driven away by your impatience, and disunity results.
5. IMPATIENCE CAUSES IMPETUOSITY
Proverbs 14:29 (ESV Strong's)
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Like Saul, we might see a need, hold a promise or sense an opportunity, but rather than waiting and being directed by God, we jump in an do God’s job for Him. It’s like when you ask your spouse to do something for you, and they say, “In a minute,” and you wait and wait, then decide to get it yourself!
Saul stepped illegally into the role of priest and offered sacrifices, because of impatience.
6. IMPATIENCE CAUSES LOSS
Ultimately, impatience causes loss. Saul lost trying to hasten things. David saw victories because he stopped, asked God and waited on Him.
Proverbs 19:2 (ESV Strong's)
Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
Hebrews 10:36 (ESV Strong's)
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
HOW TO SMASH THE GLASS CEILING OF IMPATIENCE
This is a ceiling many of us bounce off time and time again, and I’m sick of doing that. So let me outline steps we can take to smash through this glass ceiling of impatience and start to move higher into our calling in God.
1. CONSCIOUSLY SLOW DOWN
We live in a fast paced world, and even in our leisure time we are bombarded by ads, social media and pressure. It is time that we consciously disconnect for a time, put our lives on flight mode, and allow peace and tranquillity to settle on our hearts, not anxiousness and stress.
Isaiah 26:3 (ESV Strong's)
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
The first step in removing the ceiling of impatience is to slow down, find some peaceful moments in your day, disconnect from the rigours of life and put your life into flight mode.
Ecclesiastes 4:6 (ESV Strong's)
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
Grab a handful of quietness today.
2. STEP BACK AND SEE THE BIG PICTURE
Much of our impatience comes from our inability to see the big picture. We see only our small portion, but God sees everything.
In the civil war, President Lincoln used telegraph to piece together information from across the entire front. General McClellan refused to obey his commander and made localised decisions based on what he could see, so President Lincoln dismissed him in 1862. The President saw the big picture, and could make far more strategic decisions than any local commander.
Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV Strong's)
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
3. FIGHT THE NEED TO SOLVE GOD’S PROBLEM
He is God, you are not, He sees all, you see only your small bit, so you need to fight the urge to step in and take control of things yourself.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV Strong's)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
I know it is tempting to step in and solve God’s problems, but this is impatience, and it is sin. Saul did it and lost the kingdom,
4. DEVELOP A GRATITUDE ATTITUDE
The greatest sin of the Western world is an ungrateful spirit, and this manifests itself as impatience. We don’t usually count our blessings, we are just impatient for more blessings!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV Strong's)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
What does the Bible say?
Psalms 118:24 (ESV Strong's)
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us (be impatient) rejoice and (demand more) be glad in it.
If you develop a gratitude attitude, you instantly weaken the ceiling of impatience. If you become truly grateful, you can smash that thing out of the park!
5. CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD, NOT MAN
Like all of these ceilings, you face a choice today. You can let yourself be impatient, or you can choose to trust God and wait for Him to open the way.
Psalms 27:14 (ESV Strong's)
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
It takes strength to be patient, it takes heart to wait for God, but if you truly trust Him, you will see incredible miracles. Wait doesn’t mean be idle, it means keep doing what you’re doing with an expectant heart. It means laying aside you agenda, your desires, your impetuosity and saying, not my will but Yours be done.
SMASHING THE CEILING OF IMPATIENCE
Some of you have waited a long time for a promise of God. It might be for a loved one to come to Christ, it might be for an opportunity at work or in church, it might be for a physical thing like a car or house, or maybe the right partner to marry.
Psalms 130:5 (ESV Strong's)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
Some of you feel like your soul has been waiting and groaning, and like you’re losing hope and becoming more impatient. Today I’m going to ask you what it is that you’ve asked God for that seems to be tarrying?
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV Strong's)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The hammer with which you can smash the glass ceiling of impatience is seeking and trusting God. I know it’s hard, I’m impatient too, and I want everything right now. I want a new building for the church, and it’s taken way longer than I planned, but I trust God that He has he situation well in hand, and He may very well open up something I would never have considered. But let this encourage you…
Lamentations 3:24-25 (ESV Strong's)
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
So, whatever it is you are waiting for, today we are going to give it to God, tell Him we trust Him, and refuse to become impatient.
Micah 7:7 (ESV Strong's)
But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.