The first six verses of our text talks about the injustice of our world. Such evil injustice can weigh heavy upon followers of Christ. James specifically speaks concerning the injustice of the wealthy. There is certainly nothing wrong with being wealthy. However, there are those who are wealthy that will take advantage of those who are poor. I believe that James was referring here not just to those who have a lot of money, but to those who have power in this world. They use their power to oppress those who are weak. They make life miserable for others. These are also those who practice all manners of evil and persecute those who belong to Jesus. This evil world can certainly take its toll on us. There is a longing in our hearts for God to intervene and destroy the evil of the world. In verse 4, James mentions that God is certainly aware of the evil of this world and will deal with it in His time. As believers, we must be careful not to take things into our own hands and we must remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord.
Romans 8:18-23 talks about the overwhelming desire that we all have to be delivered from this sin cursed world. I don’t know about you, but there are times when I ache to go home. Have you ever travelled some distance, perhaps to a foreign country, and you were so ready to get back home that it hurt. Several years ago I went on a mission trip to Jamaica without my wife and kids. I was gone for nearly two weeks. Those were the longest two weeks of my life. Even though I took joy in the experience of ministering to people in another country, I longed to go home and be with my family. I missed them so much that it hurt. Brothers and sisters, this world is not our home. We are in a foreign land. As we see all that is going on in this world and the evil that continues to abound, we long to go home and see our Savior so much that it hurts. However, we must not get discouraged. We must not lose heart. Jesus is coming soon. We may have to suffer for a little while on this earth, but it won’t be long and we will be going home!
But, what about the here and now? What we are going through in this life is real and it is painful. How do we make it through? How do we endure through the sufferings of this life? How are we to live while we wait for the trumpet to sound? In verses 7-12 we are encouraged in how we are to live in light of the soon return of Christ.
Be patient (v. 7-8). In verse 7, James gives an illustration of a farmer who sows the field and waits patiently for the harvest. That time of waiting can be frustrating. It can be hard. Yet, the farmer waits. As believers in Christ we must patiently wait for the coming of the Lord. Have you ever been looking forward to an event or trip and you just could not wait. It was only a month or so away but it seemed like a long time to wait. But, then when the day finally arrived, the waiting did not seem as long. As a matter of fact it actually went by pretty fast. Life is like a vapor. It is here for a moment and then it is gone. This life that we now live will soon pass. Time has a tendency to get away from us. Time flies. It may seem like a long time while we wait, but it’s not really that long. You may have lost a loved one. You know they are with the Lord. You long to see them again. You long to be with them in that wonderful place of heaven. You ache to see them. Let me encourage you: it won’t be long. You will see them again very soon. Be patient, child of God. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep on serving the Lord. Be patient. We will soon be going home.
Stablish your hearts (v. 8). Jesus is coming soon, therefore, now is the time to make sure your heart is right. Today is the day of salvation. Your eternal destination is nothing to play around with. It is a very serious matter. Do not put off. Do not wait. Give your life to Jesus today. Surrender all to Him. Make sure your heart is right with God. There is not much time left. Accept God’s gift of grace today before it’s too late.
Grudge not against one another (v. 9). Dear Christian, we do not have time to be divided. There is too much to do. There are too many people that need Jesus. We don’t have time to argue, complain, and hold grudges. That is Satan’s greatest strategy. If he can keep us focused on each other and cause us to be divided and argue over things that do not matter, he wins. His goal is to keep us from being the light of the Gospel to this world. If he can distract us by dividing us, then he can keep us from winning others to Jesus.
Consider the example of those before us (v. 10-11). Before we start to wallow in our suffering and misery, we should consider those who have suffered before us. Think about Job. No one has ever suffered like he did. Yet, by the grace of God, he made it through. Think about. If Job could make it, so can you.
Keep your integrity (v. 12). James says that we need to let our yes be yes and or no be no. In other words, keep your integrity. As we wait for the soon return of Christ, don’t give in to the ways of the world. Stay faithful. Live right. Be honest. So that others may see a difference in you and will be compelled to follow Christ also.
Church, Jesus is coming soon! We are too far along to give up now. We can see the finish line. Keep running. Don’t stop. You may have to suffer for a while. But, it will soon be over and we will be going home!