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James 5:7–12 (ESV)

7 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. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 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. 12 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.

Do you have patience? Does the Lord need to grow a crop of patience in your heart?

I’m not a very patient person. LaDonna would probably say that I am (if you know her, you know that I’m not being serious right now), but truthfully, I know I’m not. I try to be, but for some reason, I really struggle at times. For instance, I will get in the truck and start driving somewhere, and I will consciously think about the fact that I need to be patient. I will think about the fact that I need to avoid driving fast and reckless. I need to be patient and kind to the other drivers. I mean traffic is so bad, you might as well be patient and just not be in a hurry. And I will think about the fact that so many drivers out there will not be patient or kind, so I consciously think about the fact that I need to be patient and kind for them. In other words, I’ll take the high road. Well, sometimes I have not five or ten minutes down the road and I’ve already forgotten all about the little deal I made with myself. Hey, I’m not the only one. There are a lot of impatient people out there.

I guess the place that my lack of patience shows up the most is shopping with my wife. There is something about walking into a store with your wife that just completely wipes patience out of your mind. It’s like, as soon as I cross the threshold of the door at the store entrance, my patient meter goes to “0!”

The truth is, I’ve met very few people in this world who couldn’t benefit from a little more patience.

As a matter of fact, that is the first spiritual truth we can draw from our text today: BE PATIENT! (James 5:7).

Be Patient

This passage might seem a little out of place, but if we take it in the context, specifically where it falls in Jame’s letter, we start to see more clearly.

In the previous passage, we talked about last week, James condemned rich unbelievers who were oppressing James’s often poverty-stricken Christian readers. Here, James wants to encourage these suffering believers.

He wants to encourage them to have patience while being persecuted. He wants to encourage those who have suffered at the hands of the wealthy and powerful.

Today, as we continue his letter, James urges these downtrodden Christians to be “patient” as they wait for the coming of the Lord. James says, “Yeah, it’s been tough, but be patient… the Lord is coming back.” Just be patient, for the Lord will return and He will make things right.

According to worldly perspectives, those wealthy oppressors appeared to be winning. The rich were comfortable. According to the standards of the world, they had succeeded in every way that mattered. Many of the Christians James was writing too, were not. Or at least, that’s the way it appeared to them. And James says, “be patient.”

So, according to James, the day of the Lord—was coming. If you will remember from last week’s passage, James had written that, “these rich people should start crying now in anticipation of the misery headed their way.” But to those trusting in Christ, no matter how little money and status they had in this life, James offers that same fact as comfort: The day of the Lord is coming.

If you are oppressive and defrauding and persecuting… you had better remember that the Day of Lord is coming. I you are on the receiving end of such treatment, if you are persecuted and being oppressed… remember, the Day of the Lord is coming.

QUOTE: Leonardo D Vinci said… “Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.”

James is saying, “Be patient while you wait for God to keep His promise.” You see God always keeps his promises. He is the Judge. He will dole out the vengeance. He will take care of His people. Of course, we do have to admit that waiting is hard when you’re suffering. When everything seems stacked against you, it so difficult to maintain that patient attitude.

James, being the great teacher that he is, pointed to the example of farmers. These hardworking people wait through the long growing seasons for their crop to finally come in.

We have had a little bit of a garden the last few years in the backyard. I really love growing, at least, a few things. It really is rewarding to grow vegetables in your back yard, particularly ones that you like, and actual harvest them, and eat them. One summer day we actually had dinner mostly from our humble little garden. But, not only am I an impatient driver, I’m an impatient gardener, too. I don’t like waiting, especially when we start from seeds. We like to cheat and buy a small plant from Home Depot.

We need to be like those farmers, James writes about. The harvest is close. The coming of the Lord is near. So be patient! Be patient like that, James says. The harvest will come.

In the very next verse, we see the next spiritual truth: Be Strong. (James 5:8).

Be Strong

James continues to urge his oppressed Christian readers to be patient as they wait for the coming of the Lord. But James also tells his readers to establish or strengthen their hearts. His instruction for them is not to waver, when they’re so close to receiving God’s promise. We cannot control God’s timing, however, James’s instruction here makes it clear that we can control how we respond during the waiting.

The reality of God’s promise gives us the ability to stand strong, even when our circumstances are not so pleasant. We must stand strong on God’s promises, and His strength alone.

I feel like God expects us to be, in many ways, completely reliant upon Him… but at the same time, He wants us to do our part.

Be Patient, Be Strong. That’s two “be’s” how about we throw a “don’t” in there? In verse nine of the text, James says, Don’t Grumble. (James 5:9).

Don’t Grumble

There are times when it appears the oppressors are winning, and injustice will be left unpunished. It seems, sometimes, as if the suffering will never end. And yet, believers have the promise that the day of the Lord is coming soon! James says the JUDGE IS STANDING AT THE DOOR.

On that day, everything will be judged and made right. So, James writes, to these suffering believers, encouraging them that they must strengthen their hearts. “Don’t waver now,” James says. “Remain patient and strong.” There must have been some conflict brewing in the church, revealing that they were not being strong in their waiting.

Have you ever been in a place of suffering, and turned your frustration on those around you? Boy! I have! Have you ever displayed a lack of trust in God to handle a situation, particularly while you were in a place of suffering? I think we all have.

Sometimes we won’t even trust those people closest us. We lie and claim everything is alright even when it’s not. LISTEN! We can be truthful without grumbling and complaining.

The fact that the day of the Lord will come soon means that the Judge is standing at the door. Don’t risk His judgment by giving in to the pressure of your suffering and turning on each other. This echoes what James wrote to these same believers about their fighting and quarreling back in chapter 4.

The temptation to go back and live according to the world’s wisdom grows stronger with our suffering, and the result is always greater conflict between us. James warns his Christian readers not to grumble against each other, which shows a lack of trust in God. Lean on Each Other and lean on God in tough times, don’t Grumble against them.

Be Patient, Be Strong, Don’t Grumble… The fourth spiritual truth is Be Steadfast. (James 5:10-11).

Be Steadfast

This great teacher of the Word, James, has already used the farmer as an example. Here, James offers the example of the Old Testament prophets.

These men delivered God’s messages, which often included warnings of God’s coming judgment.

But here’s the thing… Many years would go by without those warnings actually coming to pass, and the prophets often suffered great persecution while they waited for God to keep His word. The remained faithful. They were steadfast.

These men remained patient in their suffering, James insisted, trusting God to sustain them through it until the promise was kept, or the suffering was over. We should do the same.

Hidden in this encouragement is a truth that James’s readers surely would not have missed: Many of the Jewish prophets died while waiting for the Lord’s promise. Predictions of the Messiah, for example, were not fulfilled until centuries later.

This is a key perspective, because James is not promising that God will necessarily deliver his readers and make all things right before they die. He is urging them to remain faithful, as the prophets did.

That doesn’t mean that the day of the Lord cannot come before our earthly lives run out.

We know not the hour so we had better run to Jesus and remain faithful to Him, because SALVATION lies within Him and Him alone.

This promise from God is not earthly, but eternal. This life is short by definition; God calls us to wait in patience and strength, trusting Him all of the way through it, no matter our circumstances.

In other words, we are to remain faithful. We are to remain steadfast. We are, not only supposed to start this walk with Christ, but we are also supposed to finish it.

The goal of most in the world is to avoid suffering. It’s the quest to get everything you want in life, no matter what it costs, no matter who it hurts. James makes it clear that the goal for Christians is different.

We consider faithfulness to God despite suffering a mark of success. James uses the Greek word makarizomen, which literally means “to count as blessed, or happy, or successful.”

Then James points to another great example of this kind of faithfulness–despite–suffering by using Job’s story. Job was a man who endured enormous suffering while refusing to renounce his faith in God. In the end, God rewarded him by restoring all he had lost and giving him much more.

Suffering Christians should follow Job’s example of faithfulness to God.

Be Truthful

This verse feels a little out of place. However, it’s an important point, and it needs to be emphasized clearly. He begins by saying “above all,” indicating that this is a big deal. He then repeats, nearly word for word, Jesus’ command about taking oaths as recorded in Matthew 5:34–37.

When James writes that we must not “swear,” he isn’t talking about using profanity. He’s talking about a practice that was apparently common in this era: taking an oath to convince someone either that you were telling the truth or that you would keep a promise. We might think of saying to someone, “I swear on a stack of Bibles that I’m not lying.”

Jesus forbid Christians from doing this, and James confirmed that teaching.

The issue appears to be about honesty. Truthfulness should be the absolute norm for those who follow Christ. Our simple yes or no should be completely binding since deception is never an option for the Christ follower.

If an oath is required to convince someone of our honesty, it suggests we may not be known for telling the truth. It’s likely that these oaths had become a way of wiggling out of some contracts or commitments. James boldly teaches: For those in Christ, dishonesty is never an option. No oaths required.

As I was reading through this passage, I began to see quite the list of do’s and don’ts (mostly do’s) to be applied directly to our walk with Christ as we minister in His church.

Be Patient

Be Strong

Don’t Grumble

Be Steadfast

Be Truthful



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