Are you an impatient person? Do you become irritable when things take a little longer than you expected them to take, or people don't perform according to your expectations?
Your responses may look like sarcasm, huffing sounds, tapping fingers or even exploding in anger at the delays you are presented with. Stop for a moment and think about the last time you were feeling impatient...how did you react or respond? What was the affect on the people around you at that time? Are you known as an impatient person among your family, friends, or co-workers?
The impatient person tends to be the last one to know how their behavior negatively impacts others because all they see is that it gets a response. The response usually enforces the sinful behavior because pragmatism rules the day for most of us. If it works, we use it.
This is one of those sins we tend to gloss over and want to ignore and justify when we are confronted. Scripture tells us to examine ourselves to be sure we are not only in the faith, but living it (2 Cor. 13:5).
If you are an impatient person, is your heart revealing a lack of self control?
But the fruit of the Spirit is...patience...self-control... Galatians 5:22 (NASB)
Those who live with an impatient person live in fear of the next blow up. There is a general tension in the home and in those around you. They are (internally or externally) anxious and uptight, living in fear that they will keep you waiting, or that the server in the deli will move too slow, or the mailman will be late, or the children will dawdle.
When you are not patient or self-controlled in public and make a scene your companions make excuses for you, wanting to ease the situation and stop things from getting worse.
May I ask, is this loving? Who are you thinking of in those moments of impatience and irritability? Are you thinking of others and what may be going on in their lives at that time or is it all about you and your needs and your wants (1 Cor. 13:1,4)? Who is your heart focused on? Are you intending to glorify God by this sort of behavior?
Have you realized now that these actions are born of a prideful heart? A heart that is focused on yourself and your perceived needs and desires? If not, here is your wake up call!
Make a plan to change your responses to those that would honor God and bless others. When you are in the heat of the moment and the line is long and time is short - that is not the time to think of how you could respond. Take the time now, while you are relaxed to think through some ways you can short circuit the process before you are in the thick of it.
The times that you sense you are getting impatient and irritable begin to think of how your sinful responses affect the people around you and examine your heart in the moment. Remind yourself that the world does not revolve around you and the others do not exist for your pleasure but for God's pleasure.
Memorize some Scripture regarding this issue. Pray that the Spirit of God would make you sensitive to your sinful desires and help you to change the course before you plunge headlong into sin.
On the occasions when you fail be quick to confess your sin to God and the others who are aware of your becoming impatient and irritable. Ask them to forgive you and enlist their help in praying for you.
Recognition of the problem, prayer, and action are the keys to overcoming this sinful pattern of behavior.