Sometimes I Am Not Patient live in an “instant world” 

Around the world there is universal lust for “now”

We can put food in a microwave and have a full meal in under five minutes with little to no effort

When in trouble we want to zap the problem and expect that it will be fixed in 60 seconds

If your iPhone or computer takes more than five seconds to download a site people get impatient and complain about how pathetic their phone is, or they just go to another site instead

We lack patience in just every aspect of life in the fast moving world of today

Expecting instant progress

Acting on impulse

Making decisions for the ‘now” without regard for the ‘later’

We want to be “in the moment” and don’t take the time to think through how this decision we are making in the ‘now’ will effect us a month later … a year later … for the rest of our lives

So, we live in a world that runs by the mantra:

If it feels good, do it!

It’s my life; I can do whatever I want

Why should I wait when I can have it now (credit card debt)

We live in a world where we feel entitled to have whatever we want to have and have it right now

We think we actually deserve whatever we want 

We believe that we should never be forced to wait, plan, prepare, or put something off

We have had some help getting to this point of living with an “entitled ego”

It isn’t totally the fault of those who live with this mind-set

Strategic marketing

Improved technology

Selfish living by the majority of society

They have trained us well

You grew up with commercials and advertisements that said, “You deserve the best.

Have it your way

Live the way you want to live


And in the midst of all of this the virtue we know as “patience” has all but disappeared…

A grown man throwing a tirade because his fast food burger took three minutes to make

A mom coming unglued because the high school guy at the cash register slows her down

A young couple becoming furious because they were denied the loan to buy their dream home – which was way over their budget and ability to pay back

And now they have to do something they’ve never done before – be patient and wait

Our world (society) has trained us that if it is worth having, it is worth having now!

If you are going to do it, you should never be forced to wait

Our entitled ego tells us we should get what we want when we want it

Patience seems to be a thing of the long forgotten past


While I believe that this problem has become progressively worse — it is certainly not new

The Bible is loaded with stories of people who failed to realize the consequences of a serious lack of patience

Failed to realize the consequences of their short-term decisions

In the very first story in God’s Word — Eve craves the forbidden fruit

When you think about it, she had it all — everything any woman could ever desire

An intimate relationship with the God of the universe

A husband who adored her

Paradise as her home

She also doesn’t have some of the things that make us crazy

Eve didn’t have another woman in the world to compare herself with 

She never has to wonder, “Do you think she’s prettier than me?”

She never has to fear that someone else is a better mom

A better cook

A better employee

Has a better body

Eve can’t compare kitchens, closets, or husbands

Eve never has to sink into the trap of comparison envy

The first woman who has ever lived has everything — really everything — except the fruit of the one tree than God says is off limits

Even though this woman has it all, the serpent still manages to tempt her by asking, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

In our world, the questions might be:

“Did God really say you need to wait until marriage until you get to have sex?”

“Did God really say that you should love your enemies when you’d rather kill them?”

“Did God really say that you should stay married when you’d prefer to be married to someone else?”

Even though Eve has everything but a piece of fruit, the one thing she is denied becomes the all-consuming, gotta-have-it-thing

All of us have reached out to grab some forbidden fruit — something we absolutely must have or do — without patiently thinking through the consequences and ended up paying a price for our impatience

Moses did it when he was angry and killed a man

David did it when he was lonely and committed adultery

Judas did it when he became greedy and betrayed Jesus

And we do it when we …

Lose our temper

Have sex before marriage

Buy something we can’t afford

Stuff our faces until we are fat

A lack of patience leading to a decision and then an action that has consequences that we then end up paying dearly for

We see this common problem described clearly in the Bible

1 John 2:16-17 NLT “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

People commonly trade the long-term greater blessings that come later if we are patient …

For the quick-fix lower things they can have right now

If you know anyone who grew up during the Great Depression, perhaps a parent or a grandparent, then you know that their worldview differs radically from that of the generations following them

Because they grew up lacking what we take for granted, they conserved, they saved, they planned, they were patient

But those generations coming after the most patience and resourceful generation in recent history have allowed the pendulum to swing to the other side

Most of my generation – the Boomers – borrowed, charged, and leveraged their way to a “better” lifestyle … no patience (planning, saving, going without)

However, now in their seventies, they are waking up, and their material dream is turning into a financial nightmare

After decades of ‘living for the moment,’ most are not financially prepared for the later years in their lives

Unfortunately, the challenges go way beyond finances

During their childhood, divorce was rare — But, as they aged, their more self-centered lifestyle let to more self-centered decisions, leaving in their wake damaged and destroyed relationships

The next generation (my children), for the most part, followed suit … divorce is very common and accepted

And now those following them (the young people of today) have perfected shortsighted living to an art form

My parents taught me, “If you play now, you’ll pay later”

Unfortunately, there is so much playing now that the payment grows greater even as it approaches at the speed of a bullet

Here’s the problem: People lack patience

It has become normal for people to want what they want now, not latter. I mean, Why wait? Why be patient?

And credit cards, credit ratings, loans and mortgages enable this to happen so easily

This is the exact same attitude of the younger brother in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son

Jesus explained that a father had two sons

But the younger of the two didn’t want to wait until the appointed time to receive his inheritance, so, “The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die’” (Luke 15:12 NLT).

Like many today, he didn’t want to wait – he lacked patience and wisdom

He wanted what he wanted and he wanted it now

You will see the same thing all around you today, and perhaps even recognize it in yourself

That new pair of jeans you really don’t need – after all, they are 10% off regular price 

That bowl of ice cream that breaks your diet because you were disappointed that a special with the Prime Minister pre-empted your favourite show

Another new book that just came out inspite of the fact that you have stacks of books you have bought and have yet to read

The new car / truck because – well, just because

Wanting something that will make you feel better now is something we usually feel we can justify

The Bible states: “that there is a way that seems right to a person but in the end it leads to death”      (Proverbs 14:12)

The truth: In pursuit of immediate pleasure, people trade the ultimate for the expendable

I heard pastor and author Andy Stanley describe this phenomenon in the biblical story of Jacob and Esau

If you aren’t familiar with the story, Jacob and Esau were twin brothers.

Esau was the oldest, born minutes before the younger brother, Jacob

I have been told that younger brothers are often jealous of their older siblings, which was certainly the case in this story

Esau was a man’s man, while Jacob was more of a mama’s boy

During this time in history, the firstborn son had extreme advantages

He had what as known as the birthright


Upon his father’s death, the first born received twice the inheritance of any of his siblings

He also became the judge or executor of the father’s estate


Throughout his life, the oldest brother lived with advantages and favour simply because he was born first

You can imagine how this could get under the skin of the younger brother

Well, with these two guys, the scene went down like this…

Genesis 25:29-32 “One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”

“Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”

The conflict seems very basic, a temporary physical appetite battling an eternal familial blessing

Esau, the older brother, has been out hunting and works up a huge appetite

Perhaps his journey home took longer than he expected and his stomach is long past growling

He is not just hungry. He’s HUNGRY

When he sees Jacob cooking some stew, Esau demands some lunch

Suddenly, the younger brother has the advantage, perhaps for the first time ever

I can imagine Jacob, sensing he has the upper hand, thinking:

“I’ve got you now. All those years that you picked on me, all  those times you didn’t let me play with your friends, all those times you outshined me … now you’re going to get yours.”

Esau said something that’s funny to me

He whined, “Look, I’m going to die if I don’t get something to eat.”

Just in case you’re tempted to believe him, let’s tell it like its is

He was being a big baby, a drama king, an entitled brat. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it …

He is looking for a temporary physical thing and willing to give up an eternal blessing

Esau wasn’t about to die — He was just hungry and was use to having food the moment he wanted something to eat

Jacob corners his brother and strikes a deal

“You want some of this delicious beef stew, with your favourite carrots and tomatoes? Then it’s going to cost you. If you give me your birthright, I’ll give you some stew.”

And that’s when Esau makes the worst trade in his life

Esau trades the ultimate (his birthright) for the immediate (a bowl of stew) because he lacked patience

Think about it … he could have cooked his own meal

Think about it … he meets his brother, could mom and dad be that far away?

In the end, he will not be able to put a price on what he pays for a simple meal because he was not patient

He wants what he wanted when he wanted it

You might ask, “Who in the world would do something as stupid as trade his birthright for a bowl of stew?”

If you think about it, you already know the answer

We do it every single day

Generation after generation of intelligent adults make similar decisions to Esau’s life-altering bargain with his brother Jacob

We allow our out-of-control, fleshly desires to overwhelm our better senses / our common sense

We allow our flesh to determine our future instead of God’s will and the leading of the Spirit

Remember the verses we looked at from 1 John?

The world offers to fulfill all our cravings

“I’m hungry and I want it”

“I’m lonely, so I need that person”

“I’m empty, so maybe that thing will satisfy me”

The world offers substitutes for — or counterfeits of — real things…

      • Physical pleasure
      • Material things
      • Pride in what we have and what we do

Before long, our sinful desires for the counterfeits of this world lure us into short-term decisions with long-term consequences

We trade the ultimate (God’s best – God’s blessing) for the immediate (our selfish desires)

We’ve given away our birthright for a stupid bowl of stew

If trading your birthright for a bowl of stew seems farfetched, then let me share another example

In 1894, the US mint in San Francisco produced only 24 coins, relatively few for its time but certainly staggering when we consider the millions of coins produced in the US mint today

The superintendent of the San Francisco mint was a man named John Dagget

Knowing the rarest of the few coins produced that year, Dagget acquired several and gave three of the dimes to his daughter Hallie. 

“Hold on to these, my dear, and they’ll be worth much more than ten cents someday,” he told her.

On her way home from her father’s office, young Hallie did what many kids would do

She stopped in her favourite soda shop and exchanged what would become one of the world’s rarest coins for a scoop of her favourite ice cream

Almost a century later, in 1981, the coin surfaced and sold for $34,100.00

Today only ten 1894-S Barber dimes are known to exist, and they are considered one of the most sought after coins in the world

Poor Hallie’s scoop of vanilla ended up costing her much more than she could imagine

We would be wise to embrace the principle of delayed gratification (patience) when it comes to all our finances, not just our dimes

Because of a spirit of entitlement, it’s common for teenagers (and adults who are still in adolescence) to believe they really need the latest iPhone, iPod, or iPad

If their iPad doesn’t have 4G, they need counselling to overcome their childhood abuse

Some teens actually believe they deserve to drive a brand new car – not some old clunker

Debt-ridden college students (a friend of mine) in the USA believes he needs a spring break trip to Cancun – a necessity

A young couple just out of college feels it is their right to live in a house as nice as their parent’s home

We live with a sense of entitlement … and it is not biblical and flies in the face of patience 

And, the point of the teaching is that: Because  we are not patient we trade the ultimate for the immediate

1 John 2:16-17 NLT “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

So how do we move from living like the crowd?

How do we overcome the cultural pull towards immediate ego gratification?

That: “We want what we want and we want it now” feeling

Well, the Bible says that we should pursue God will all of our hearts until His desires become our desires

Rather than craving what others crave, we yearn for the heart of God and long for what matters to him

Our demanding egos submit to the will of God for our lives

Our selfish impatience gives way for the perfect will of God

The Bible states:

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)

As we seek God, His desires become our desires

The Hebrew word translated as “delight” is the word anag  


It carries with it the idea of being made soft and pliable

You could say that as we enjoy or delight in God, he shapes our hearts and desires to look like His

Then instead of desiring the cravings of our fleshly nature, we learn to crave the Kingdom desires of our God

All of us want to make a difference in the world

And when we don’t have the immediate impact we desire, we often feel frustrated or discouraged as if we’ve failed at being a Christian

But the truth is that God works in us even when we can’t see it — perhaps especially when we can’t see it

One of my mentors told me, “Ralph, you’ll very likely overestimate what God wants to do through you in the short run. But you will very likely underestimate what God wants to do through you in the long run.”

He nailed it

Just seek after God with all of your heart

Just delight in Him and leave the rest up to Him

Paul told us to “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are to opposite of what the sinful nature desires” (Galatians 5:16-17 NLT)

As we seek God and God’s Spirit guides us

We won’t be seeking the bowl of stew or a scoop of ice cream

The Holy Spirit replaces our lower, self-serving, demanding desires with God’s higher, Kingdom-serving, selfless ones

Think about al this for a moment

For centuries God’s Name has often been tagged by the patriarchs who loves and served Him faithfully

You’ve probably heard God referred to as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

If you pause and reflect on the story we looked at earlier, you’ll see something that will stop you in your tracks

Esau was the older brother with the birthright.

When Jacob tricked him into giving away his birthright, Esau traded the ultimate for the immediate 

If he hadn’t made that devastatingly destructive shortsighted decision, throughout history you would have heard God referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau

Esau lost his standing


You will be wiser, I know you will

When you are faced with temptations – look beyond the moment

Remember that patience is better than power


Self-control is more important than conquering a city

You will choose God’s ultimate over the immediate

You will never trade your birthright for a simple bowl of stew  


Said another way: You’ll no longer sacrifice your destiny for distorted desires

As you realize how much God has planned for you to do in this world

I pray you will live with a long-term Kingdom perspective

That you will make decisions that will honour God and propel you forward over time

That you will sacrifice your own ego-driven agenda in order to experience the perfect will of God in His perfect timing

Instead of demanding what you want now, you’re often infinitely better off patiently waiting

Proverbs 16:32 says, “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city (NLT). 

Living with patience is better than muscling forward to demand what you want before the time is right.

Self-control often unlocks the door to blessings that are longer lasting and more meaningful

Patience comes from knowing you already have enough of what you need the most.