“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Just as the farmers of verse seven were patient in waiting for the harvest, so believers are to be “patient” in waiting for God’s justice. Wealthy landowners defrauded poor believers while they lived in luxury. Christians need a divine perspective to address their anguish.
James’ point is that we are to be patient with those who abuse us until the Lord comes. We are to develop the attitude of long-suffering toward our adversaries, “Bear your trials without retaliation and resentment. Wait on the Lord’s coming because we will find justice there.”
This does not mean that we cannot stand up for ourselves, but it does mean that we should acquiesce to the plan of God and His timing. This is why we can maintain perspective with people. We accept the inconvenience and allow others to take advantage of us by keeping God’s will in view.
Establish your hearts,
James calls attention to the need of our “hearts.” Believers need to strengthen their souls. Discouragement and even despair can grip their hearts.
The word “establish” means to make fast, to confirm. The idea is to stabilize something by resolving to do something. This word also carries the idea of the stability of courage. Those who are about to cave in to their problems need to orient their hearts to the spiritual strength of the blessed hope. They need to develop a constancy that comes from a confirmation of the Word of God. They need to make decisions with the finality of belief about where their true hope lies.
1 Th. 3:12-13, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
2 Th 2:16-17. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
1 Pe. 5:10, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
Mature believers can have stability in trouble because their trouble is only temporary.
The long-term perspective of the believer is that trouble is only temporary. God has a plan, and He will execute that plan right on time and in His perfect will. Christians take confidence in this. This is the basis of their stability. They will not shirk the will of God if they keep the long view of God’s plan.
A Christian cannot move forward in the Christian life without a firm faith. If he wavers by letting antagonists intimidate him, then he will falter in faith.
1 Th. 3:2, “…and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith…”
Believers can have stability in trouble because their trouble is only temporary. Our troubles will end at the rapture. That is why we anticipate that day. We live in the light that His coming could be at any moment. God calls us to resolute, firm courage about the certainty of the rapture. That is why we should not overly concern ourselves about those who financially abuse others.
Ps. 73:2-3, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
There is no place for double-minded, unstable believers (1:6). They are people like the wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. God does not bless this kind of Christian (1:7-8). This is especially true when it comes to the imminent return of Christ. We hear much today about how unimportant the doctrine of future things is, but the Bible says that it is the basis for our stability!
A Christian with a long view of things will have a long temper, a long fuse. He will not retaliate at the first violation of his rights because he knows that God is in control and that His timing is always right. This was Joseph’s attitude toward his brothers, who wronged him (Ge 50:20).
Eph 3:14-16, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…”
Moses understood the importance of perspective. He kept eternal values in view regardless of his adverse circumstances. This perspective on life will keep us from discouragement.
He 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”