James 5:8 "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."
Patience is not always evident in my life. Yesterday I was sitting in my office on the phone with a client who went on and on about what seemed to be important to them, but really had no relevance to their case. While they kept talking I kept getting more irritated. I had other things to do. I had other matters that needed to be taken care of. Why was this person wasting my time? Yet, patience is a fruit that is evident in a person's life who has the Spirit of God living in them. My flesh was certainly evident yesterday.
And here James is encouraging the church that had been scattered because of persecution to be patient. These people did not have to deal with a fifteen minute phone call. They had to lose everything that they had in order to protect their lives and their families. They had to run from their homes in order to avoid persecution. And James encouraged them to count this all joy. James charged them to be patient. To not lose heart. To suffer long. To endure tough times. I wonder what I would be like in that situation? Joyful? Patient? Or irritated? This really has to be a work of God's Spirit because the natural thing to do would be to get angry, to take out your revenge, to get even, to take matters into your own hands, to yell and scream. And James says: Be patient.
And establish your hearts. This is strengthening the inner man. This is being firmly fixed. This is being unwaverable even though everything around you is caving in. This is something that is evident on the outside because it is done on the inside.
Why? Because they knew that Christ was coming again. And why can we be patient when the world seems to be falling apart? Why can we be established even though this country can't figure out what to do with the debt ceiling? How can we endure tough times and be rock solid on the inside? Because we have a greater hope. This world is not all there is. Jesus is coming again someday and He is going to establish His kingdom "and He shall reign forever and ever". All the junk that is capturing the world's attention right now is nothing. It has no significance. It is unimportant. It will all end…"for the coming of the Lord is at hand." So be patient and establish your hearts…