Vs 1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Vs 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Vs 7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it …
Vs 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts …
Vs 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord
Vs 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job …
Vs 12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
Vs 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently …
James is wrapping up his letter the same way he began his letter.
… a warning to the rich who have “fattened hearts” … and an encouragement to the suffering to “establish their hearts”.
With an “established heart”, I can be “patient” like the faithful who came before me.
James has an interesting way of contrasting the condemned and the faithful.
Those with a “fattened heart” … the self-indulgent, weeping at the loss of luxuries.
Those with an “established heart” … patient, long suffering, and steadfast.
Also interesting, James says, “we consider those ‘blessed’ who remained steadfast”.
Do we really, though?
How often are those with luxurious lifestyles and self-indulgent living considered “blessed”?!
But James says that patient steadfastness in suffering is what is actually “blessed”.
How can this be? Because those are who will actually receive “the coming of the Lord” … like the farmer who buries his seed today, but eventually sees the true “precious fruit”.
So then, where is my faith? In the circumstances of my life around me?
We’re experiencing even now how they can change in a moment!
“Good” or “rich circumstances” will “rot” and fade away …, meanwhile “suffering” and “trials” endured with patience and faithfulness will prove fruitful.
How can I do this? By knowing I am not alone. I can look to the “Elijah’s” and the “Job’s” who were “with a nature like me”.
So, where will my focus be?
Hopefully, not rich circumstances or poor circumstances, but on faithful and patient endurance of whatever circumstances I am in.
Remain steadfast, this is where blessing comes from.
The blessing of living life with God, Himself.
Thank you, God, for your word.
Thank you for giving me very the faith I have.
Help me exercise it fervently.
Help me live faithfully in every circumstance I find myself in, knowing you will prove fruitful.
In Jesus name,