There’s so much going on today…so many changes and they’re coming so fast. Though we certainly have not experienced trials to the degree that many have in the past, these are uncertain and changing times. I’m sure that things like viruses and the like would be included when James refers to the poikilois…the many-colored or diverse trials which we are to consider as joy. It is imperative that believer’s not allow the ongoing (and perhaps long-going) present trials to cause us to forget two important truths, because if we do we’ll just lose our minds if not our faith!
So let me remind you of two things in these days:
Remember that Jesus Is Coming (James 5:7-9)
Jesus is coming! James repeats this three times:
- “until the coming of the Lord” (5:7)
- “the coming of the Lord is near” (5:8)
- “the Judge is standing at the door” (5:9)
Is there anything more hopeful and helpful than that?
Patience…James says it three times in two verses 7 and 8. Notice that it is believers who are called to patience. Patience is sometimes translated as long-suffering, literally “long-tempered” even though people are trying attempting to destroy them. Stay calm, because Jesus is coming!
In verse 8, James calls us to “strengthen your hearts”…that is referring to firm courage and a resoluteness which manifests itself in an attitude of unwavering commitment to stay the course, to finish the race, to continue on no matter the severity of the trial. That’s how a true believer responds in these times. Not in fear and greed, but in an unwavering commitment to Christ because the coming of the Lord is near!
“Do not complain” (NASB). The word “complain” could be translated as ‘grumble’. It is a groaning because of an undesirable circumstance or situation. It speaks of a critical spirit of fault-finding and personal blame. During times of trial and hardship how easy is it to take it out on others instead of responding with a contentment that rest in the Lord…after all, the Judge is at the door!
Remember the Character of God
And finally, if we aren’t to lose our minds in these times we must remember the character of God. You see how James does this in verses 10 and 11? He reminds us of the prophets and of Job…but it’s not about them…it’s about how God dealt with them. What was the outcome of the Lord’s dealings? “The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful”. That’s the character of God that we are to remember in these days. When we do what will be the outcome? Unhypocritical prayer! Because you remember the character of God…pray. Pray when you’re suffering. Pray when you’re sick. Pray for one another. Why? Because God is compassionate and merciful. We need to be reminded of that because in these days that truth is being forgotten…and we’re losing our minds.