“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
“The Lord is at hand”
This is a reference to the coming of Christ. Verse 4 set forth the impact of the presence of Christ in our daily lives. This verse presents the impact of Christ at His coming. Christians have a glorious prospect of meeting Jesus face to face in time on earth.
When Jesus comes and we stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will judge truly. He will settle all differences. That will make our differences seem like trifles. James 5: 8-9 combines the longsuffering spirit and the coming of Christ: “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge is standing at the door!” Jesus is right at the door. He may lay hold of the doorknob at any minute. We wait for a Savior. Do not grudge against your brother. If we do, we may have to bury the hatchet publicly. Now we can do it privately.
The words “at hand” mean near, imminent. This means more than that the Lord is omnipresent. The idea is the Lord may come while we are giving someone a piece of our mind. He may come at any minute. He may come and catch us red-handed telling someone what we think of them. We may get caught right in the act. Because the Lord may come, we need to keep short accounts with other people and with the Lord.
How gracious are we with other Christians? How much flexibility is there in our lives? Can we get along with other people? We all have different personalities. No two of us are alike. Can we accept the differences of other people on that board upon which we serve? Does everything have to be done your way? Are you always negative at the board meetings? Are we willing to put our differences in the Lord’s hands at the Judgment Seat of Christ? The greatest incentive for holy living is the imminent return of the Lord Jesus to earth.
Many of us are nice as long as we can have our own way. As long as your husband can have his own way, he oozes with personality. When you cross him, he acts like a spoiled child. Some Christians have a case of arrested spiritual development. How do we act when someone crosses us? We act like a spoiled child. As Christians we live far below our privileges.
Are you a flexible, pliable person? Are you flexible where there is no fundamental doctrine or principle at stake? Do you have the capacity to give? Are you hard to get along with? Do you drive a hard bargain? Must you always have your own way? There is far too much of that in all of us.
Whether we like it or not, it is difficult to be honest with ourselves. It is easy to be honest with other people. We can see their problems quickly. It is difficult to see our own flaws. We cannot see ourselves as others see us.
People have us cataloged. They know whether we are easy to get along with. They know if we are difficult people to serve on that committee.
If we live our lives in the light of the coming of Christ, we will forbear other people.
Are you sensitive? Do you carry a chip on your shoulder? Are you touchy? Are you always spoiling for a fight? Some folks are born that way. They are quick to take offense. They always take things the wrong way. Soon we do not dare open our mouth for fear we may offend them. They misinterpret everything. They cannot take a joke. We avoid them like the plague and they wonder why.