James picks up the call to patience. “You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8). In addition to the endurance and longsuffering of patience in affliction, James adds another element. “Establish your hearts.” The sense is to make firm. In the face of adversity, we must burrow ourselves more deeply into the everlasting arms of our Lord. We double down on the hope that is ours in Christ.
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7, ESV)
James is writing to those undergoing suffering in this world. His rebuke of the rich we saw in our last devotion gives us an idea of one source of that suffering – the oppression by those who have of those who have not. But in this fallen world, we all experience miseries of life from a variety of sources.
After addressing the rich (5:1), James speaks to the brothers. Not that those who have money cannot be brothers, part of the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Rather, James is extending comfort and encouragement to those weighed down by injustice and oppression.
The operative word in James’ exhortation is patience. He opens by saying, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord” (5:7). There will come a day when wrongs will be made right, when oppression will cease, and suffering be no more. It’s all tied in to the reality of the kingdom of Jesus Christ that is already present but will one day be ushered in in fullness. It is this kingdom that believers are to seek.
In true pastoral fashion, James drives home his admonition with an illustration. “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).