Patience because of a Future Hope (James 5:7-12) ~ A Daily Devotion for April 14, 2014

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” ~ James 5:7-12

Examination & Application of the Text: It has been such a long while since I have been able to keep up on these daily devotions, that I find myself excited to jump in once again, hoping to press forward and be more consistent in these. With that said, the last text that was reviewed as part of our daily devotions was James 5:12. It was the last in a section marked by patience in suffering found in James 5:7-12. As is typical when we finish a section, I think it is prudent to go back and review the entire text as a whole and briefly review some concepts that are fully brought out in the portion as a whole.

Guy King writes: “I sometimes wonder whether we should stand firm and keen if it meant that we must suffer fr our faith: what a little ridicule it takes to send us into our shells! For those to whom James writes, the outlook is very dark, so he invites them to try the uplook.”[1] The concept of having a heavenly mindset dominates this particular section of the text. James refers to it repeatedly, suggesting this is an important concept that he wants the believers to focus on. This is because what we are focused on, what are mind is set on, dictates how we behave. It is for this reason that Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-2 for believers to seek the things above and set their minds on them. James, like Paul is exhorting the believers to live ever present of heaven and hell before them, knowing that these are realities that await every person. Understanding this, two major things should happen. First, it becomes a priority for every believer to share the Gospel, not wishing that any should perish and spend eternity in constant separation from God. Second, knowing that the return of Christ is imminent, it should provoke believers to seek Christlikeness as part of fulfilling God’s will. Desiring to fulfill the will of God, every believer should engage in the process of Christian growth, so that they may be conformed to the character of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:1-2).

Another repeating concept addressed in this passage is patience. James urges his fellow brethren to be patient in the midst of suffering. “He wants us to wait for the Lord’s coming, and as was the case with Job and the prophets, our character is forged on the anvil of difficulty.”[2] James began his epistle noting that trials will produce completeness, or the character of Christ if one endures. The same can be said of suffering. Suffering molds a person into the person that God needs each of us to be, and as such, should be looked upon as opportunities.

The two concepts are also related. One can have patience, enduring the suffering, because they know that the return of Christ is soon. Suffering is temporary simply for the sake of eternity, and once He has come, there is no greater thing than that of eternity in the very presence of our Lord.

Therefore, it is quite clear through the text, each of us needs to persevere and endure suffering, knowing that the plan of God will prevail in the future, seeking to live peaceably with one another.

 

[1] Guy King, A Belief That Behaves: An Expositional Study of the Epistle of James (London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, LTD, 1951), 109.

[2] David Nystrom, James, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 292.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s