Lately I need to be even more patient than usual. That’s difficult for me. It took long enough for me to get the patience I have—and now I have to be even more patient?!? Things take longer than I ever could imagine. Things aren’t as simple as I first considered. The struggle is real. You know what I mean? I’m sure you are patiently waiting for this devotion to end (let’s hope not because I didn’t even share what God has shown me). Perhaps you are recollecting your drive home or the long line at the supermarket. A half hour ago, I waited 4 minutes for a red light. FOUR MINUTES!!
Despite my love of not waiting, I have learned to embrace God’s timing. Oftentimes, this means that I must make good use of that patience He has taught me over the years. Usually it means I will be stretched to the max, growing in patience or falling while pulling out my hair asking God what is taking so long. The truth is, I embrace God’s timing because I have realized He has the best plan. He has showed me how extra time brings everything in line the way He orchestrated. Waiting on His timing allows for people to step up that He positioned to rise. Waiting on His timing gives me the opportunity to see Him move in mighty ways. Embracing the timing of God is a walk in faith and it produces great fruit. Plus, I have proven time and time again that my timing is HORRIBLE!!
Today, you might not know what God is doing. You may even say He is silent or absent. I can promise you that He is not absent. He promises not to leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is always moving too, so if you think He’s silent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t listening. I have many times found myself guilty of not taking a pause in life to listen to our heavenly Father. Take the time today. Pray. Read His Word. Simply sit still. Embrace His timing. Carve out some time to rest and listen. Wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14 [NIV]
Waiting is hard. We are not patient people. I know I am the kind of person that wants to get things done right away. When I see something that needs done, I do it. When I see a problem, I dive in to try to fix it. I don’t like to dilly dally around.
The Lord is showing me that waiting is crucial in life. God created the earth with rhythm and balance. We cannot do everything. We shouldn’t try everything. We need to instead rest in Him and trust that at just the time, He will move and things will come to be just as He has planned and promised. Never in the Bible do you see Jesus rushing around like a chicken with His head cut off. Yet, when we closely examine our own lives, we often note we are too much action and not enough wait. We are too much noise, not enough silent moments with Him.
With Abraham and Sarah, they were promised a child but they didn’t wait. Sound like anyone you know? Then God revealed more of His plan to them, letting the two know that the promised line would come through their soon-to-be child Isaac who would soon make an appearance. Sarah laughed, but “this happened at just the time God had said it would.” Patience allows us to experience the peace God always meant for us to enjoy. Patience stretches our faith. Patience allows us to see God move in awesome ways. Today, remind yourself that God’s Word tells us there is a time for everything. Trust His timing.
“She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” – Genesis 21:2 [NLT]
In the world, we are taught that we should seek and find—we are to go out there and get what we want because we deserve it. It is considered a way of life. No waiting necessary. Technology has made this even easier as people can reach others more quickly. These technological advancements helped to breed a lack of patience.
Consider how often you were able to have some alone time this week—actual alone time, where you were not on your phone. Time when you can actually hear God speak. Consider how many times you lost your patience this week. I know a short ride from point A to point B may have shown us a side of ourselves we would like so much to hide.
In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah writes that it is good for us to “wait quietly.” Not only should we be a waiting people (patience needed), but it speaks of a “soul who seeks Him.” What a you seeking? Are you seeking God? Are you looking for something else? In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah speaks of the hope in the Lord. He recognized that He alone is our great hope, and he spoke of the importance of seeking Him and waiting for Him. Today, may you stop trying to push things forward, but rather, may you hope in the Lord. Rest in Him. Trust in His plan and His timing.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” – Lamentations 3:25-27 [ESV]
One of the hardest things for us to do in this age of technology is to watch and wait. When a website takes longer than usual to load, we mutter not-so-nice words under our breath. When the street light seems to take forever to change or the person in front of us does not notice it changed and move at a rate we expect, we get frantic. When we push a button a few times for the elevator, we continue to push it again if the elevator does not rush to our floor. We live a life of rush, of busyness, of frantic racing from place to place or task to task. But God’s Word tells us that we were never meant to be zooming around everywhere like a chicken with its head cut off.
In Proverbs 8:34, it says that we will be blessed if we listen, watch, and wait. This seems simple. Listen. Watch. Wait. But to do these three things is not so easy. To listen, means we need to be intentional. You may have heard the phrase, “Put on your listening ears.” For a child of God to have listening ears, it means we have ourselves ready to listen. The noise of the world isn’t drowning out God’s voice. We have made time to hear. We have found a place that will promote the stillness we need to hear the still small voice.
Not only are we to listen, but we are to watch. We watch God move with our eyes. We watch what He has for us. But we don’t act. It says we watch and wait. This is not the typical sequence of action for us. We are accustomed to watching someone show us how to do it, and then start following the How-To video to accomplish the same project or cook the same meal. God wants us to listen and watch for Him, and only move when He wants us to move. To be in His will, to walk so closely to Him, following His instruction, requires us to listen, to watch, and to wait. This is what abiding in Him is all about—and living this way results in living a life that is blessed.
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” – Proverbs 8:34 [ESV]
[The Unproductive Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9, Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22]
Colossians 1:9-10 – “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [NIV]
*BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK*
- Filled with the knowledge of His will
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
- Bearing fruit in every good work
INTERNAL FRUIT + EXTERNAL FRUIT
Internal Fruit – Deeper walk with God which produces: Fruits of the Spirit
External Fruit – Abiding in Christ impacts relationships and increases effectiveness of your ministry
Galatians 5:22-23a – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [NLT]
John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [NASB]
John 15:8, 11 – “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples… I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [HCSB]
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]
Bible Study Questions:
1) Looking at the Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree, who is:
The Vineyard Owner –
The Vineyard Keeper –
2) The Keeper of the Vineyard pleas with the Owner to give another chance. What does this say to us?
3) In Matthew 21:18-22, we read of the Withered Fig Tree. The fig tree bears a false resemblance of one that would have fruit. How can we appear to be fruitful but not yet not bear any fruit?
4) What does the Withered Fig Tree represent to us? What can we take from this message?
5) Read Colossians 1:9-10. The passages mentions being filled with the knowledge of His will, to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, and about bearing fruit in every good work. How can we:
Be filled with the knowledge of His will?
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?
Bear fruit in every good work?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.