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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Why Am I Impatient?

Kleenex on everystockphoto by davidlatWhy Am I Impatient?

It’s my ninth day with a cold.

It’s not serious.  But I constantly feel lousy and can’t get as much done as I’d like.

So this morning I was hoping I’d wake up feeling fine.  But I don’t; I’m still sick.

And so I’m feeling frustrated, bothered, and irritable.  Impatient.

I’m Not Alone

We all struggle with impatience.  And some of you are dealing with trials far worse than mine — like chronic pain, long-term unemployment, or years of seemingly fruitless ministry.

But God calls us to “be patient in tribulation” (Rom 12:15).  So what can we do when we’re impatient?  How can our hearts change so we feel patient?

What Does Not Work

Here are some approaches that don’t work –

  • asking God for patience (helpful, but not enough)
  • trying to feel patient (will-power can’t change feelings)
  • taking a deep breath (I tried that; nothing changed)
  • looking on the bright side (close — but what is the bright side?)
  • quoting verses (does not usually work unless I tackle my unbelief — keep reading)
  • saying “this too, shall pass” (but when? and what do I do in the meantime?)

None of those approaches produce genuine, lasting patience.  But God calls me to be patient.  So what can I do?

Understanding Impatience

The Bible teaches that the cause of feelings is found in my faith — in what I do or don’t believe about Jesus Christ (study Isa 26:3; Psa 56:3-4; Rom 15:13; and 1Pet 1:8 for examples).

So when I’m feeling impatient, there’s a problem in my faith.  I’m not trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ Jesus.

So let’s see how that works with me.  I’m feeling impatient about being sick for another day.  So what promises am I not trusting?

As I search my heart, I can see what I’m not trusting –

I’m not trusting that Jesus is my all-satisfying Treasure.  I’m thinking that to be happy I need health and productivity and energy — so I’m not trusting that Jesus Himself can fully satisfy me without these (John 6:35).

I’m not trusting that Jesus is loving and sovereign.  I’m seeing another day of sickness as a bad thing.  I’m not trusting that Jesus has perfectly planned the length of my cold to bring me the most joy in Him (2Cor 12:9-10).

Do you see how that works?  If we truly trusted that Jesus is our all-satisfying Treasure, and that He is loving and sovereign, then we would feel perfectly patient in every trial.

So impatience shows there’s a problem in our faith.  We are not trusting all that Jesus promises to be to me.  So what can we do?

Good News

The good news is that Jesus promises to change our hearts.  I see that in verses like Luke 18:27; John 7:37-38; and Matt 11:28.

No matter how weak our faith or how impatient our hearts, He will help us, change us, and free us.  He promises.

And He will do this as we fight the fight of faith.  This means we come to Him as we are, trusting Him to forgive, change, and satisfy us.  Then we ask for the power of the Spirit to change our hearts.  And we pray over God’s Word until we feel the Spirit strengthening our faith and changing our hearts.

That’s what I’m going to do right now; I encourage you to join me –

I’m Coming To Jesus Christ Just As I Am

I don’t need to change my heart before coming to Him.  Because of the Cross I can come just as I am, with my impatience, and trust Him to forgive me, change me, and satisfy me (Luke 18:13-14).

Lord Jesus, here I am, once again, with unbelief in my heart.

Forgive me for thinking health, productivity, and exercise will satisfy me more than You.

Please forgive me, change my heart, and strengthen my faith.

As I do that I am assured that He has forgiven me through His death for my sins.

(If you are not assured of forgiveness, pray over Isaiah 53:4-6; Luke 18:13-14; and 1John 1:9 until you are.)

I’m Asking For The Spirit’s Power To Change My Heart

No matter how impatient I am feeling, Jesus promises that His Spirit can change my heart.  He can conquer unbelief, strengthen my faith, and fill me with joy and peace (Mark 9:24; Rom 15:13).

So I am going to take some time right now and ask for more of the Spirit’s work in me.

Jesus, right now I am feeling only bitterness, aggravation, and impatience.  And I know that my heart can only be changed by the power of Your Spirit.

So pour out Your Spirit’s work as You promise in Luke11:13.  Crush my sinful unbelief.  Strengthen my faith.  Open my eyes to see Your glory.  Fill me with all joy and peace in believing.

Please do this, for the glory of Your name.

(Here are some passages I find helpful to pray on this point — 2Cor 3:18; Psa 13:3; Psa 43:3-4; Eph 1:16-18.)

I’m Praying Over God’s Promises Until The Spirit Changes My Heart

The Holy Spirit changes our hearts through the Word of God (Gal 3:5; Eph 6:17).

So I am going to pray over each of the promises I’ve not been believing until the Spirit strengthens my faith and I feel patience growing.

Here are the promises I’m going to focus on –

  • Jesus is my all-satisfying Treasure, more than health or productivity or exercise (or anything else) — Psa 16:11; Psa 73:25-26; Mat 13:44; John 4:13-14; John 6:35; John 7:37-38; Phil 3:8.
  • Jesus is loving and sovereign, and so ordains the length of every trial to bring the greatest joy in Him — Rom 5:2-5; Rom 8:17; 2Cor 4:17; 2Co 12:9-10; 1Pet 1:6-8.

What’s Happening

Once again, my Jesus has been faithful.  As I’ve been writing this post, and praying over these promises, He has increased the work of His Spirit upon me, and changed my heart –

  • I am seeing this sickness as a gift of more nearness to Him.
  • My impatience and frustration are shrinking.
  • I am feeling a quiet, deeply satisfying pleasure in Christ Jesus.
  • I am feeling patient about being sick, because my heart is full in Him.
  • I am at peace about what I’m not getting done, because I know He will take care of it.

What Did He Do For You?

I’d love to hear.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto and is by davidlat.)

Category: Finding Peace and Joy, How to Be Content

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14 Responses

  1. DebbieHMac says:

    Thanks Steve,I’ve also got a cold and have been struggling with frustration. So your blog was perfectly timed. Feeling a lot more peaceful and thankful to God that he has chosen this time to bring me closer.Thanks again for your help.

  2. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    I see my sickness as a ‘gift’ and I patiently wait upon him on this matter knowing he is using this for my good and he has my best interests at heart, but when I mention this to other christians they have been taught that this is ‘giving way to’ or ‘agreeing’ with illness. In my heart I know it is not because I have been edified by scripture, vision and through him to trust. This issue however is something so many christians who have long-term illness are struggling with as the ‘battle’ against christians who haven’t had this word to be content in him through all trials has not come, and some of the suffering christians also view this contradiction as a painful ‘critism’ which makes being in pain or unwll even worse. perhaps you could write an article on this contradiction which would encourage those who haven’t had a strong word from God about persisting in faith through difficulty when others are viewing this as conceeding? Much christian love.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you for the article-suggestion. I have been deeply affected by Paul’s description of his thorn in the flesh. Clearly Paul thought he should ask God to remove it — but God chose not to. I see sickness the same way.

      But you are right. Too many suffering Christians are made to feel that the reason they suffer is because their faith is weak, when that’s not the case at all.

      Thanks, Lorrain,

      Steve Fuller

  3. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    And I have just discovered that you can read these articles without looking up the scriptural references seperately which I really like – even if that does qualify me as a little impatient!

  4. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    And this also reminds me of the woman who was confined to a lung chamber but who witnessed to everyone who came to nurse her and brought many to faith over the years, her joy was not dependant on her health.

  5. learning every day says:

    ‘Now you think of saying there’s no use in praying, but still, she bows her head so she can say, Thank you for just one more day,’ ~ couldnt get it out of my head LOL

    A cold that goes on for so long can become dangerous, take care

  6. arnulfo guerra says:

    I thank the Lord that you have the courage. God bless you Steve in all your endeavors.

  7. arnulfo guerra says:

    I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. Fo too many years I have given myself too much credit for my accomplishments and never acknowledged God. Three weeks ago I started sincerely living my faith, to get closer be God. There have been interesting coincidences, but for now I will tell you of one. Saturday morning when I read your post, I found it very encouraging and truthful. I thought too myself , “Well there is nothing wrong with me physically , but I understand what you mean”. I logged out , walked about ten feet to my bedroom and felt a pinch in my back. By the bed I felt more pain. When I sat down the pain was just awful,. I couldn,t even put my socks on , when just minutes before I was in great shape. i went to mass on sunday and was glad to be there even with the pain. Then I really understood what you were talking about. MY back is still out this morning but my life will be better for as long as I live. Coincidence ? perhaps.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      That is a powerful testimony, Arnulfo. Thank you for sharing it.

      And I’m glad you are fighting to trust Jesus’ promises regarding your back pain.

      May he continue to strengthen your faith in His glorious and all-satisfying grace.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

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