Be Patient and Establish Your Heart
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7-8, NKJV)
There is a singular goal which should drive the heart of every Christian. This singular goal pushes through all other desires and goals of life to become the leading and directing goal. The apostle Paul referred to this singular goal when he wrote, “. . . but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14, NKJV). The apostle Paul understood the importance of “reaching forward” and pressing “toward the goal” of eternity with God in heaven. With such a determination, a person will allow that singular goal of heaven to lead his life and shape the very desires of his life.
Since the beginning of the Lord’s church, the gospel message has contained the promise of the Lord’s return. However, these promises of the Lord’s return also contained the admonition to remain patient. Consider the following words of James: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8, NKJV).
Patience and faithfulness are crucial to letting the hope of heaven lead a person’s life. In James 5:7-12, we see three important statements designed to help Christians to keep the goal of heaven in the forefront of their lives.
- “Therefore be patient, . . .” (vs 7-8) — As every student of the Bible knows, while the day of the Lord is certain, the Bible does not reveal when the day of the Lord will take place. It is possible the day of our death will come before the day of the Lord. However, even death will not separate us or keep us from the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4). Whether or not the day of the Lord takes place during our life time, without patience, we will be tempted to leave the path which leads to eternity with God in heaven.
- “Establish your hearts, . . .” (vs 8) – Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35, NKJV). Establishing our hearts in faithful obedience (“good treasures”) is crucial to being ready for the Lord’s return. If our hearts are not established, then we will not let the goal of heaven direct our lives.
- “. . . the Lord is very compassionate and merciful . . .” (vs 10-11) Remembering the compassion and mercy of the Lord is also necessary to remaining patient for the coming of the Lord. The writer James uses the prophets, as well as Job, as examples of faithful endurance. “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:10-11, NKJV). The Lord blessed every prophet who endured. Consider prophets such as Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. All of these prophets faithfully endured sufferings and persecutions for speaking the word of the Lord. As a result, the Lord blessed these prophets. James also reminds us of God’s compassion and mercies which He extended towards Job. Job persevered and saw the “end intended by the Lord,” His compassion and mercy.
As we have seen from these passages, remaining patient and faithful until the Lord’s return is both possible and expected if we are going to spend eternity with God in heaven. There will be many distractions and hindrances along our life’s journey here on earth. Let us keep our eyes on the goal, looking ahead to the time when we will stand before the throne of God.