Read James 5:1-12
PATIENCE – I am slow to react negatively, especially in frustrating situations.
“…developing 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 what we want to be, but exactly what does that look like?
There are 9 core virtues that address who we are. Those 9 virtues are captured in Galatians 5:22, 23 in the fruit of the Spirit…patience being one of them.
“Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!” People have laughed at that kind of statement for years because they have likely personally experienced the irony of it.
Meanwhile, did you pick up on the irony of those verses from James? James 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 read those same words nearly 2000 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!
But 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.