By Jenniemarie Cisneros
Memory Verse: James 5:7-8
Read: James 5
Can you believe we are at the end of our time in James together? While I am saddened this is our last week, I am hopeful this study will serve as a launching pad for us to put into practice what we have learned in James. I am excited and humbled to highlight this weeks truths found in James 5.
Let’s get started by reading James 5:1-6 Warning to Rich Oppressors
James begins this last chapter with a warning for the rich, which to be clear, includes you and me. He flat-out warns us misery and judgment is coming to those of us who do not head his warning about wealth being worthless in the grand scheme of things. He also reminds us how we treat others is not hidden from God. He describes the end result when we choose to take it upon ourselves to be sustained in the world instead of putting our faith in the Lord.
Let’s continue by reading James 5:7-12 Patience In Suffering
Here we find our key verse for today:
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8
The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. I don’t know about you but I struggle with patience. I am a first-born, type A, jump in and fix the problem kind of girl. Whenever a problem arises I am more likely to come up with a plan to solve it than I am to wait patiently on the Lord. When my attempts inevitably fail I often find myself angry and confused.
My knee jerk reaction is exactly what James cautions against. James knows that none of us are immune to trials and tribulation. John 16:33 tells us in this world we will have trouble. Therefore it is important for us to understand not only how to react in these situations but why.
Farmers patiently wait on the rain because they faithfully believe the rain will come and bring a valuable harvest. We wait patiently and stand firm in times of suffering because we faithfully believe the coming of the Lord is near.
It may seem easier said than done when we string together a bunch of biblical words to explain an analogy meant to show us how to live. I mean, how are we supposed to truly remain patient when we encounter such suffering as divorce, death, disease, crime, infertility, adultery, unemployment, debt, wayward children, hunger and the like? There is a tendency to want to separate “real life” from biblical teaching. But James shows us it is possible and offers the prophets and those who were blessed because of their perseverance as examples. He tells us to look to Job during our difficult times.
Job modeled perfectly what real life suffering is. Many of us think in order to consider it all joy we must demonstrate this facade of Pollyanna type happiness when our world is crumbling around us. That is simply not true. When trials came Job’s way he cried out to the Lord, not only questioning his reasoning but throwing himself a good old fashion pity party. Sound familiar?
In the end Job was able to stand firm because he had spent his life building his foundation in the Lord. He was able to wrestle with the Lord and come to the conclusion that his trust in the Lord far exceeds his current struggles.
We serve a mighty God. He desires a personal relationship with each and every one of us. He wants to be the one we turn to when we worry, fear and yes, even question our circumstances. When we stay so immersed in God’s word and make praying without ceasing a priority we are able to bring our suffering to Lord and cry out in faith:
I believe Lord that you will never leave me nor forsake me. (Joshua 1:5)
I believe Lord you have plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I believe Lord that you will give me rest when I am weary and burdened. (Matthew 11:28)
I believe Lord weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)
I believe Lord that even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)
I believe Lord that you love me so much you sacrificed your one and only son so that whoever believes in you shall have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I believe that I should take heart because you have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I believe in YOU Oh Lord!
This, my dear sisters, is what standing firm in times of suffering looks like. We have the ability to set an example to the world in our time of suffering by bringing Glory to God in all of our circumstances and we will be considered blessed because of it.
Are you in the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship? This is suffering sister friend and you are not alone. How are you handling it? Do you need to confess your unbelief to the Lord? Do you need to sit and wrestle with him for a bit? Do you need to tuck away His true and holy words in your heart as a reminder of his goodness? Do it right now! Seriously, take all the time you need I will be right here waiting when you are done.
Let us wrap up our time together by reading James 5:13-20 Prayer of the Faithful
We are told in Hebrews 10:24 to not give up meeting together…but to encourage each other-and all the more as you see the day approaching. This is how we will know who to pray for, sing with, pray over, confess to and forgive.
James reminds us of Elijah, whom in the ESV version is described as a man with a nature like ours, and yet the Lord still honored his prayers. We need to declare and exercise the same authority as daughters of the King of Kings!
As we conclude this study of James I want to make it very clear that the teachings we have learned and discussed over the last few weeks are not meant to condemn you because of your short comings but instead should serve to convict and encourage you to grow in Christ.
We must find a way to hold each other accountable with grace, mercy and above all else, love. In doing so we have the ability to not only save souls from death but to cover a multitude of sin.
I am humbled and honored to know I am walking side by side fellow sisters in Christ, knowing together we will no longer just listen to the word and so deceive ourselves but we will challenge each other to be doers in Christ for His Glory.
- What struck a chord with you the most from James 5? Why?
- Is it wrong to be rich? What does Paul say about riches in 1 Timothy 6:6-10?
- What truth did you learn about being patient in suffering?
- What steps do you need to take to establish a prayer life and make it a habit?
- What new truths did you learn in studying James? How will you share this knowledge with others; especially those who don’t know the Lord?
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