There are only four days left in our spiritual boot camp! It is hard to believe we have been at it for 32 days. I hope you have grown in your faith and grown closer to the Lord through this study. Today we will continue looking at James 5.
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
James is telling the people to be patient even under the difficulties they are facing. Remember from yesterday’s verses James addressed the rich and those who were not treating their workers fairly. The Greek word for “patience” in this verse is “makrothymeo” which means “to endure patiently, as opposed to experiencing despondency”. “Makrothymeo involves exercising understanding and patience towards persons and frequently suggests a refusal to retaliate.” So James was telling the “brothers” to be patient with the people they were having to deal with and to not retaliate even if they were not being treated fairly. How hard is it for you to be patient with others? How difficult would it be for you to be patient in a situation where you were being taken advantage of or treated unfairly?
James goes on in verse 8 to tell them to “stand firm” which “literally means ‘strengthen your hearts’. The reason given for standing firm is that ‘the Lord’s coming is near’.” James wanted to encourage them to be patient, not retaliate and stand firm so they would be seen as righteous before the Lord on the day of judgement and we see this in the next verse.
9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James first uses the example of the farmer waiting patiently for the rains to come. Then he uses the example of the suffering of the prophets followed by the suffering and perseverance of Job to give the people examples of those who have been patient waiting on the Lord. He says those who wait and persevere are “blessed”. When have you waited patiently on the Lord and persevered? What were the results of your faith and obedience?
It is easy to become discouraged and frustrated in difficult circumstances and our flesh wants us to react in anger and give up. However, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us wants us to exercise our faith by being patient, relying on the Lord and persevering knowing He is trustworthy. What situations are you facing where you need to put your faith into action by being patient and not retaliating? What circumstances do you need to show perseverance? When you look back over you faith walk, what examples do you have of being blessed by being faithful, patient, persevering and being obedient? What examples do you have and what were the results when you chose to respond in your flesh?
All Scripture references are from http://www.biblegateway.com
Greek definitions are from “The Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers
- Quotes are from “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Vol. 12, Zondervan