“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14, NKJV)
Patient endurance in the face of trials is a virtue of faith. When faced with a situation that calls for waiting, some do so out of anger, ready to exact revenge on their oppressor (Romans 12:17-21). Some wait with distressed hearts, anxious over an outcome that is beyond their ability to see (Matthew 6:34). Others wait with boredom and complacency, disinterested in the events to come. But, the one whose heart is set on the Lord is not deterred from trusting Him. David exemplified the patient endurance of faith: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). When enemies surrounded him, he would not be afraid (Psalm 27:3). Patient endurance requires courage to trust the Lord’s deliverance, and to keep on fighting. David’s ability to patiently endure trials was anchored in his desire to seek the Lord and dwell in His presence (Psalm 27:4-5). Whatever trial you face, continue living faithfully to the Lord. Be strengthened, and be bold. He will strengthen your heart, and you will see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 27:13).
10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10–11, NKJV)
Perseverance. Steadfast endurance, patient continuance. Perseverance defines a growing, fruitful faith, come what may. When opposed, the patient perseveres, waiting for the divine blessing they know will come (James 5:7). By patience, the heart is established (James 5:8). Knowing the Lord is just and that He will execute justice against evil is our incentive to persevere through the sufferings imposed by the unjust. The prophets and Job are examples of such perseverance. God’s prophets were threatened, harassed, rejected and killed, yet still they rose up early and spoke God’s word to a rebellious people (Jeremiah 26:1-6). Job’s suffering was intense, but he endured, and God’s merciful compassion was abundantly supplied. The Lord will return, bringing blessings to those who trust Him and patiently wait for Him. Even when the way is hard, add perseverance to your faith, and it will bear fruit unto eternal life (2 Peter 1:5-8).
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:8–9, NKJV)
We are commanded to be patient, even in the face of suffering, like the laborers whose wages were being withheld fraudulently (Jas. 5:4). The Lord of Hosts sees every injustice, and will right every wrong when He comes in judgment (2 Thess. 1:6-7). R. C. H. Lenski’s comments on verse 9 are worthy of careful consideration: “The verb does not mean ‘to murmur’ but ‘to groan’ (Rom. 8:23)…to groan against each other as though one can blame his distress on another. When one is full of complaint he is ready to grumble against even his best friends in an unreasonable way. To give way to such feelings invites judgment from the Lord. And the readers must know that the Judge is already standing before the door. He has risen and has come near. What if he opens the door and steps in as suddenly and unexpectedly as he has said he will and finds us impatient, groaning at each other in dissatisfaction instead of being patient and firm?” (The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James, 655). Strengthen your heart by being patient in the face of trials. Do not grumble, groan and complain against others; the Judge is standing at the door. When He judges others, He will also judge you and me. Let us all be ready, by being patient in trials (Jas. 1:2-4).
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NKJV)
The ability to endure the trials and pressures of life with joy and not be frustrated (or even become despondent) is a clear mark of spiritual maturity. When you are “having a bad day,” do not let it overwhelm you. Refocus your attention on the joy of being a child of God. Make a deliberate decision to be patient in the moment of trial. Choose hope over despair, and a growing, maturing faith instead of discouraging doubt. Meet the trials that challenge your faith with unyielding endurance. Allow your hope to anchor your soul in the hour of trial. Patience will work in you to complete your faith and embolden your joy.
Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9, NKJV)
How unseemly it is when Christians grumble and groan against each other. Such complaints lead to condemnation; a sinful devouring of one another that reaches into eternity (Gal. 5:15). James reminds us that the judgment is near, and such sins against fellow Christians do not escape the sight of the Lord, who is Judge of all (Acts 17:31). James urges patient endurance when we are wronged (Jas. 5:10-11). The Scriptures instruct actions of reconciliation, not words and deeds that lead to barriers and burdens (Matt. 5:23-25; 18:15). Forbear and forgive, “if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13). Forgive, instead of fomenting strife. Forbear with patient faith, instead of verbalizing complaints that condemn your soul. The Judge is at the door!
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness… (2 Peter 1:5–6, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit calls on us to add perseverance to our self-control. Self-control that is only sporadically used is like a misfiring spark plug in an engine. The engine of our faith will sputter, lose power, waste energy and become more and more ineffective. It may be time to give your faith a tune up by equipping your self-control with constancy, endurance and steadfastness. A thriving faith is vigilant to endure trials, constantly using self-control to avoid sin and to obey the Lord. The testing of our faith by various trials produces patience. Faith grows stronger when we endure, letting “patience have its perfect work” (Jas. 1:2-4). Living by faith is not easy. It demands constant self-control to persevere in the face of many challenges. You can successfully add perseverance to your self-control by “looking unto Jesus”. He endured the cross and its shame, and is now exalted (Heb. 12:1-2). Follow in His steps and persevere to the end.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NKJV)
The gospel message is the same for us all. Yet, how to most effectively convey the spiritual blessings of its message to others often depends on their specific spiritual needs. For example, the unruly Christian ought to be sternly warned of the spiritual danger that comes from being insubordinate to the will of Christ. Discouraged Christians, whose faith is undergoing particular stress, need the comfort that comes from the redemptive hope we have in Christ. Weak Christians need to be strengthened in their faith with good doses of God’s word coupled with mutual burden-sharing (Gal. 6:2). All need patience to grow and mature in Christ. Becomes aware of the spiritual needs of your brethren. Then, use the gospel to meet their needs and to advance their spiritual growth in Christ.