Be Strong and Endure
James 5:7-12 (NRSV) 7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12 Above all, my beloved, 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.
I have always advised people not to pray for patience, but tribulation brings patience (Romans 5:3) James is saying disciples should be patient until the coming of the Lord. And, James says to be strong because the coming of Jesus is near. Then, James returns to the theme of this letter, do not speak against others.
I have noticed in my lifetime words have become so casual that they do not carry the weight they once did. We speak words that hurt others, and never give the pain we have caused a second thought. Our words have become so negative, and even children utter offensive language on a regular basis.
James references the endurance of Job, and I like the way he phrases this sentence. Most people refer to the “patience of Job,” when Job was not patient, but he certainly perservered. Perhaps we should purpose in our hearts to speak words of hope, encouragment, patience and strength. If we want our hearts to be filled with love and hope, then let us speak love and hope.
Finally, James says do not swear or take an oath because God alone knows and understands the significance of such words. I ask you today to sit down with your Bible and look up “Be strong” in the scriptures. You will receive such encouragement and who doesn’t need encouragement? In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Father God, I pray that you would enable us to be mindful of the words we speak, the oaths we swear, and realize once and for all that our strength comes from God. Help us to be kind to all, and to endure until the Day of the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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