In the Bible, the book of James emphasizes dynamic Christianity, characterized by good deeds and a faith that produces works. In other words, genuine faith must and will accompany a consistent Christian lifestyle, which includes works. Again, this is after you are already saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. You cannot work your way into heaven, but works are a natural byproduct of true faith in Christ. In the 5th chapter of James, he shares about patience in our Christian life. And this Patience in Christianity is laid out in almost the Old Testament proverb style.
Patience in Christianity as Shared by James
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
James is sharing these nuggets of wisdom to the Jewish Christians in the early church. Then, as today, people long to know when Jesus will come back and straighten everything out. So, James teaches patience. Like a farmer waits on his crop, we are to wait on the Lord patiently. If a farmer tries to harvest too soon, he will not receive the maximum yield of crops. God is waiting until the fullness of the harvest of souls to maximize the yield of souls. So, we need to be patient, solidify your beliefs through Bible study, prayer, and good works. The most critical good work is sharing the gospel. As Christians, getting as many people into heaven as possible is our primary responsibility and blessing. So, we need to be patient.
“Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
We are not to hold onto grudges. If someone wrongs you, you should forgive them. Often you may think a person has wronged you, but they are oblivious to what they did that made you angry. They may have said something in a way that angered you, even though they had no intention of angering you. Or, they may say something in haste that they instantly regret. The point is we need to be patient with people and give them the benefit of the doubt. They may have meant no harm. But even if they did mean harm, we need to forgive them. Always be open and quick to reconcile. Unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ is not only essential and proper but divinely commanded. So, please show patience with our fellow Christians.
“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”
James invites us to study the Old Testament prophets. They provide a rich source of prophecy as well as examples of enduring patience through adversity. Amos was a poor farmer and tender of sheep and fig trees. He was sent from his home in Judah to Israel to preach to them about returning to the worship of God (YHWH). He ended up preaching throughout the area of Israel, Judah, and beyond the boundaries of each kingdom. He preaches his message for about 40 years, often to people who would not believe. But it is his patience that we are talking about today. He had to be patient and keep repeating the message that God gave him – patiently sharing the message to anyone that would listen. The same is true about the other prophets. They patiently preached God’s message.
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Anyone that has read the Bible or heard the historical narrative about Job understands that Job had patience. He endured tragedy after tragedy yet still praised the Lord through every adversity. Because the old English in the King James Version above is a little hard for some to understand, the New American Standard Bible shares the message a little clearer. “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” So, even enduring everything Job endured, he was patient with God and trusted that God had the master plan. Please don’t become impatient with God. He knows exactly what He’s doing.
Patience in Christianity
Today, we are enduring many almost unbelievable troubles. We have politicians stripping us of our rights, rioting in the streets, protests almost always turning violent, and our police are stripped of their ability to police our society. Furthermore, we have a viral pandemic being blown out of proportion, resulting in the world blindly following unscientific, unbiblical mandates. We have unseen powers pushing our country down a path to globalism – globalism that is entirely unbiblical. Globalism is the same mindset of the people of Babel. They felt that if they band together, there is nothing they can’t accomplish. So, who needs God if we have everything under control? Well, historically speaking, our plans eventually fail, but God’s plans NEVER fail. The Bible is replete with examples. We need the patience of Job.
Lastly, keep up the good fight. The fight to practice our faith, our responsibility to assemble as Christians, and our command to share the gospel. We must be patient, as we await the Lord’s return, but always press forward in our work for our Lord, as well as in defending our inalienable rights provided by our Creator. Remember, this is both a spiritual battle and a physical battle, and we should patiently endure and fight fearlessly on both fronts.