Thursday, September 19, 2013

Patience Under Pressure

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, until it receives the early and the late rains. ~James 5:7

In the previous passage (Chapter 5:1-6), James described the sinful attitudes and wrongdoings of rich oppressors who were taking advantage of poor and hard working Christians. These unnamed greedy oppressors were hiring Christians to work in their fields then withholding the wages due to the workers. James exhorts these brothers (Chapter 5:7-11) who are suffering under this terrible wrong to have patience. When he does, James gives them something to keep things in perspective, the coming of the Lord.

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. ~James 5:8

In fact, there are many things besides the unlawful withholding of one’s wages that require patience from us. There are more than enough ways to experience suffering and difficulty for which we, as Christians, must not give in to the response of a fallen and sinful nature. The members of my Growth Group this week noted many ways we might “normally” respond and none of them included patience. Often times our first reaction is to rise up in anger and retaliate, or grumble and complain. When we reviewed the way Job reacted to suffering, it was very convicting and helped us see the dangers of impatience.

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. James 5:12

Impatience, as noted by James here, can lead to the danger of expressing one’s self in a severe and unrighteous manner. In his message this past Sunday, Pastor encouraged us to be patient when times of suffering come and remain steadfast when the circumstances of life become difficult. He gave us four things to consider which will aid us in remaining patient, they were:
  1. Consider the Lord’s return 
  2. Consider the Lord’s servants 
  3. Consider the Lord’ purpose 
  4. Consider the Lord’s character 
To respond in a godly patient way, as difficulties seek to overwhelm us, it requires the working of God’s Spirit in our hearts using His Word to bring the right perspective on the situation. We are to look to the Lord rather than the immediate problem and the idea of looking to God’s servants as examples of suffering patiently is a good for us as well. James gives Job as an example for us to consider. Few have suffered as much as Job, or as severely, so we would do well to look to his response when trouble began knocking at his door.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:20,21

Job’s response to the intense and life shattering news of losing his property, servants, and children was not one of impatient retaliation or vindictive lashing out, but of worship as he patiently and humbly submitted to God Almighty. I am not saying look at Job, now go be like Job, but rather look at Job and trust the One he trusted.

How will we deal with trouble? When trials come and the pressures of life increase to the point of crushing us, will we patiently look to the Lord or will we grow weary of well doing?

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

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