New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon and Cyndi Burgess
PASTOR JON: In our Life Hacks series, we have been studying the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23. Today, we will finish the series with the fruit of Patience. Patience is easily the most difficult characteristic to develop in our walk of faith—in fact it’s almost impossible unless we allow God to work out patience in our lives.
Hebrews 6:11-12 NIV says, "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Underline "faith" and "patience" because the two are inseparable.
The life of faith that God calls us to is not a fast food life. It is a faith that is tested, tried, and developed in the process. It’s not cheap and it doesn’t come easily—it comes over time!
PASTOR NORI SATARAKA: I come from a family that believes in Shintoism, which is ancestor worship. I am the oldest and I was to carry on the tradition. But I told my family that I’m going to follow Christ. I told them about my new faith and how wonderful and different it is from what we used to believe in. I told them Shintoism is idol worship and if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will all go to hell! My family did not understand my new faith and I was reaping the consequences of my impatience! After that, the Lord spoke to me, “You don’t have to preach—just show them without using words. Show them the kindness and love that I have shown you.” For the last 20 years or so we’ve been doing that. We don’t talk about our faith but we talk about what we do in church. This Mother’s Day I felt God saying to invite mom to church. I didn’t think she would come. I know she likes tonkatsu (pork cutlet)so I invited her to the best tonkatsu restaurant in Japan after church. She had never been to church before but when she came, I could see that she was so amazed at how many people were there, welcoming her and telling her the stories of what we’ve been doing and who we are to each person. All that my Mom said to me was, “I’m proud of you and what you do.”
PASTOR TALO SATARAKA: She’s a great mother-in-law. I don’t blame her that she wanted to end her life when I came to propose. Nori said, “Please don’t kill yourself, just disown me.” So she was disowned. Later, mother-in-law accepted our marriage, but I was very careful. I was building a healthy relationship over the years. One day, Mom said, “You know, when we die, I want my son to do my funeral.” I had never been called a son before. This is the first time in 28 years! I had been patient. Then the sister jumped up and said, “But Mom, that’s Christian. You are Buddhist. Why do you want him to do a funeral?” “No, I don’t want a Buddhist priest to do my funeral. We can rent a little room, just family, and my son can give a message.” That was really the first time I ever heard her express an interest in the faith that we live. Even now I don’t think they fully understand what we’re doing but God has a way of opening hearts. Patience is always a good virtue, and it always opens doors. It helps to bring the message through if we’re not too result-oriented. We must be constantly patiently sharing the message of salvation because that is most important.
2. PATIENCE WILL EMBRACE THE DIVINE DELAY. The divine delay is a process where God is growing, training, building, and molding you and me for the next stage in life that He’s preparing. It might look like silence or unanswered prayer.
James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”It’s not if, it’s whenever trouble comes. I don’t know why but when trouble comes, I’m surprised by it and I read that scripture and it’s like God is saying, “I warned you about it. For when your faith is tested, your endurance and patience has a chance to grow. When your endurance and patience is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”
Do you want your character fully developed and ready for anything in the next stage of your life? It will take your faith being tested. It will take patience.
There’s something about God not always answering our prayers the way we want, when we want, and how we want. In patience we embrace the divine delay, knowing that God’s doing something.
The book of Hebrews is laced with examples of people whose lives went through periods of delay and how they walked through it.
Hebrews 6:13-15: “When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, saying, ’I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’ And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” God came to Abraham, an old man, whose wife was barren and said, “I will give you a son. Not only a son, but I will make you a great nation.”It was 25 years from the time God promised Abraham to the time that son of promise, Isaac, was born. That’s divine delay.
God promised Noah there would be a flood, something that had never happened before. Scholars believe it took between 70 and 120 years to build the ark and prepare for this flood. David was anointed to be king at 16 but he didn’t become king until he was 30 years old. The Israelites were enslaved for 430 years in Egypt before fleeing to the Promised Land. Jesus delayed two days before coming to see Lazarus, knowing Lazarus would die and He would raise him up.
There is a list of examples in the book of Hebrews that embrace divine delay in order to receive the promises of God. In the middle of the delays, the circumstances don’t feel divine. Remember, God is working in the delay in your life; there’s a plan.
How long have you been waiting? It’s in the delay that God is forging your character. He’s building something that we cannot build on our own. It’s in the delay that He is readying our hearts for what is ahead and He’s preparing us.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for a hope and a future.’” His plans for us are good. The delay is not meant to torture us but to train us. It’s not meant to crush us but to grow us.
2. PATIENCE WON’T CAVE TO THE CAVING THAT KILLS.
Patience is long?term. There's no such thing in the spiritual walk as a shortcut or a quick fix. If you're being offered that, it's not God, and the price will be steeper than you're willing to pay.
In Hebrews 12:16, “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.”
In those days, being the firstborn son was the best because he inherited everything that his father owned when his father passed away—that was his birthright. Therefore, everything that Isaac owned (his property, reputation, relationships, cattle, houses, and fields) would go to Esau. But Esau traded his birthright for only a bowl of stew!
You may be thinking that’s ridiculous. I would never do that. I would never give away my home and inheritance for a bowl of stew. Ask yourself, why would the author of Hebrews put that in the Bible if it’s not something that each of us are prone to do, especially when it comes to patience.
When we crave something and are not prone to patience, the craving causes us to make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion. That craving in our heart is an insatiable hunger that demands instant gratification. It’s the want that won’t wait that kills the promise.
Craving isn’t a sin but craving leads us to places where we sell our soul for what we’re craving for at the moment. For instance, pride is the craving to be seen as better and above others. Envy is craving what belongs to someone else. Gluttony is craving to consume more food than your body needs. Lust is the craving of pleasures of the body outside the covenant of marriage. Anger is craving control over others. Greed is craving material gain over spiritual growth. Sloth is craving escape through avoidance of work and responsibility.
When you look at it that way, they are all bowls of stew that we have been selling our birthright for. We are more like Esau than we think. It’s not comfortable but if we want to break through and embrace what God has for us in His divine design, then we must embrace the divine delay.
As a born again child of God, we are the first-born sons and daughters of the Father and He desires that we receive our full inheritance. The devil can’t take our inheritance from us but we can give it to him the same way Esau did—through craving instant gratification, we hand it all to him.
How do we overcome those cravings? Instead of focusing on what we are keeping ourselves from, begin to focus on what we’re giving ourselves to. Instead of focusing on how to avoid the cravings, begin to crave Christ—the only one who can satisfy. Once you taste of Him, and your relationship is focused on knowing Him; then in the middle of divine delay, you won’t cave in to the craving because you’ve tasted and seen how good He is and nothing the devil offers can even come close.
3. WAITING IS A TWO-WAY ROAD.
God's cooking up something good for you but right now but it feels as if it's taking forever. While you're waiting on God, God is actually waiting on you. He's in the kitchen cooking something up and He's waiting for you to persevere, to finally get to that place where you realize, “Oh, this is what I've been waiting for. You're right, God, this is so much better!”
If you are having difficulty with a craving that kills, God wants you to taste and see how good He is. If you pursue a relationship with Him, you will not crave any of the other stuff.
You can follow Esau because it’s quick and easy, but it will always let you down. One thing that will never let you down is the promise of God’s timing. It requires that you and I work in conjunction with Him.
Hebrews 10:36-39: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For, in just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
Patience is not an excuse for procrastination. Patience is while we’re waiting for God to come through on our last ask, God’s waiting on us to come through on our latest assignment. When we do our part that frees Him to do His part.
Limbless pastor Nick Vujicic said, “The key is you have to trust that God only has the best in store for you. That’s Jeremiah 29:11. If God says no to something, He’s saying yes to something even greater. It’s when you fully surrender all of your desires to His will that His perfect will can be done.”