Command 1: You shall have no other gods before me. Why would we want other gods? Because we are impatient with God, and we think that perhaps some other gods can give us more of what we want than God.
Command 2: no graven images. We make graven images because we are impatient with the way of worship which God commands of us in his Word, we impatiently want to make an image of Him that we can see. Remember how the Israelites were impatient when Moses was up on the mountain, so they made a golden calf.
Command 3: no taking God’s name in vain. We take His name in vain in cursing because we become impatient in reaction to something which has happened to us. Can you think of any instance where you would swear in anger when you are not being impatient?
Command 4: remember the Sabbath. We break Sabbath, doing unnecessary work because we are impatient to see that that work gets done. We can’t wait until Monday to do what we want to do.
Command 5: honor your parents. You do not show your parents the proper respect which God commands of you because you are impatient with their weaknesses.
Command 6: no killing. You show anger toward your neighbor, perhaps even going so far as killing them, because you believe that they did something wrong to you, and you are too impatient to leave it to God to avenge.
Command 7: no adultery. You lust after someone sexually, you commit some sexual sin, because you are too impatient with respect to having your physical desires satisfied in the proper context of marriage.
Command 8: no stealing. You steal from your neighbor, because you are too impatient to actually earn for yourself that which you stole. Someone steals a car to sell for money, they are too impatient to earn their money in a legitimate job.
Command 9: no bearing false witness. Someone lies about their neighbor, bearing false witness against them, because they are too impatient to let the truth takes its course.
Command 10: no coveting. You envy what belongs to your neighbor, because you impatiently believe that God has not given you enough. You are impatient with His providence, knowing that He has promised to take care of all your needs, but not believing that he is taking care of them fast enough.
I would dare say that there is hardly a sin which you could think of which somehow is not connected, if not directly, than at least indirectly, to impatience.
It should not be surprising then, that impatience is so completely contrary to the will of God. It should not surprise us that God commands his people to be patient. As Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
And Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
We have been called by God to live as his chosen, redeemed people, and as redeemed people, washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, we should be living as patient and humble people, putting up with one another as people who share a common bond of love.
This is not just simple moralism here. I am not just trying to promote a feel-good, let’s-all-try-to-get-along, sort of attitude. People of God, this is the will of God for His people. This is what redeemed people will be like, having the Holy Spirit live in their hearts, producing in them the fruit of patience. This is the will of our God for our entire lives.
We must be patient with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But now, consider this: if you are sitting there thinking, “Yeah, that’s right, that so-and-so over there, he sure has to be more patient”, then you yourself are being impatient with that brother or sister, and you had better look to your own heart to see where you yourself can be more patient.
In a crowded department store a young mother had the added difficulty of a small girl pulling and tugging at her side and whispering incessantly. Suddenly the harassed mother pleaded softly, “Quiet, Susan, just calm yourself, and take it easy.”
An admiring clerk commented on the mother’s psychology, then turned to the child, “So your name is Susan.”
“Oh, no,” interrupted the mother, “her name’s Joan. I’m Susan.”
Harvey Mackay in his book Swim with the Sharks tells of the 88 year old President of Japan’s largest enterprise, Matsushita Electric, answering an interviewer’s questions on the future of his company. The interview went as follows:
Question: “Mr. President, does your company have long-range goals?”
Question: “How long are your long-range goals?”
Answer: “Two hundred fifty years.”
Question: “What do you need to carry them out?”
A chaplain who was ministering to a seriously wounded soldier was requested by the dying man to write a letter to his former Sunday school teacher. “Tell her I died a Christian because of what she taught me in that class in church. The memory of her earnest pleas and the warmth of her love as she asked us to accept Jesus has stayed with me. Tell her I’ll meet her in Heaven.” The message was sent, and some time later the chaplain received this reply: “May God forgive me. Just last month I resigned my position and abandoned my Sunday school pupils because I felt my work had been fruitless. How I regret my impatience and lack of faith! I shall ask my minister to let me go back to teaching. I have learned that when one sows for God, the reaping is both sure and blessed!”