Our Vision of Faithfulness in Hard Times
Faith That Works
How will we keep from being squashed into something really unattractive when facing persecution?
1. Long for Jesus return
James 5:7-8 (ESV)
7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. 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. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
2. Watch your mouth
James 5:9, 12 (ESV)
9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
12 But above all, my brothers, 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.
3. Know God’s compassion
James 5:10-11 (ESV)
10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Questions for reflection and discussion:
- What is wrong with this statement, which you may have heard or even said: “Don’t ever pray for patience?”
- What does James mean by establish your hearts?
- Are there ways in which I am guilty of grumbling against other believers?
- Discuss the difference in playful sarcasm and spiteful sarcasm?
- In what sense will a Christian face the judgment of God? Consider James 5:9 in your discussion.
- What prophets might James have had in mind in verse 10? How might Hebrews 11:32–38 help to answer this question?
- In what sense can a believer fall under condemnation? How does this square with Romans 8:1.
- Compare James 5:12 with Matthew 5:33-37