Read James 5:1-12
“. . . (D)eveloping fully devoted followers of Christ . . .” That is our church’s mission statement. It is inherent to the commission Christ gave to His disciples before His ascension.
The idea of full devotion resonates with our hearts. That’s how we long to live, but exactly what does that look like?
In trying to define full devotion to Jesus Christ, we find the fruit of the Spirit at the core. That’s where patience comes in. (See Galatians 5:22, 23.)
“Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!” People have laughed at that kind of statement for years because they have personally experienced the irony of it.
Meanwhile, did you pick up on the irony of those verses from James? He admonished the rich of his day for “hoarding wealth in the last days” (v. 3). Just a few verses later, he writes, “…be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (v. 8). It is almost as if he is saying, “Hang on! Be patient! Christ’s coming is just around the corner. Don’t accumulate wealth. Don’t selfishly mistreat others in greed. Don’t grumble about others. Don’t take justice into your own hands. Don’t compromise in suffering. Just wait because Christ is coming soon!”
The irony is found in the fact that you and I are reading those same words nearly 2,000 years later! Christ hasn’t returned yet. I thought those were the last days! I thought His coming was near then! Clearly, God’s eternal perspective on time is different from ours!
Still, the admonition remains. Be patient. Christ is returning. Don’t greedily live as if you are establishing your own kingdom in this temporal world. Don’t mistreat others. Don’t get torqued at others. Don’t let difficult times get you bent out of shape.
Your challenges won’t last forever. Patiently anticipate Christ’s return.