Be Patient

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The Holy Spirit taught Christians the patience of faith in James 5. The patience He commanded in James 5:7 means to be "long-spirited" and is translated as "longsuffering" in 2 Peter 3:9. Instead of hastily retaliating against being wronged. God commands us to "be patient" in the face of withering oppression and uncertain tomorrows. 
 
(1) When you are defrauded (
James 5:4-8). Laborers were to exercise patience when greedy landowners withheld their wages. Under these conditions, they were to remain grounded in their faith (establish their hearts, v. 8). Their faith was to stay firmly fixed on the Lord of hosts (Lord of the armies, Isa. 1:9; Rom. 9:29), who heard their cries for justice and relief. The Lord judges and punishes those who fatten themselves at the expense of others. Even now, Christians must resist the temptation to lash out with angry vengeance when treated dishonestly. Our faith in the Lord to address such wrongs tempers our anger and strengthens our resolve to "be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord" (v. 5:7; Eph. 4:26-27). Illustrated by the farmer waiting patiently for his crop to mature, Christians know the Lord's judgment against oppressors is sure (v. 8). Therefore, we patiently wait for that day. 
 
(2) Remember the Lord also judges us. "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned (
James 5:9; 4:11). Moments of stress and oppression tempt us not to love our neighbors and brethren. Envy, jealousy, bitterness, grumbling, and judging one another can occur during periods of economic uncertainty. The Lord who judges the oppressor also judges the oppressed. The "long-spirited" saint remembers to be patient in word and deed. Avoiding rash statements is one way we apply this patience (James 5:12). 
 
(3) We have examples to help us be patient when oppressed (
James 5:10-11). God's prophets suffered greatly for speaking His word (v. 10; Matt. 23:29-32, 35; Acts 7:52). The Lord blessed them for their endurance (a mark of patience). Job stands as a model of perseverance (v. 11). He endured tremendous losses, yet the outcome was compassion and mercy from the Lord. Like these faithful ones, we must endure mistreatment and persevere through moments of trial. The Lord is faithful, compassionate, and merciful to bless the patient bringing judgment upon all who impatiently and selfishly oppress others.

 

Joe R. Price 

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