James 5:7 – Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.

In the month of December, believers turn their attention toward celebrating the birth of the Savior. What a tremendous time of the year, as we remember all that the Lord has done for His people. James, in the fifth chapter of his letter, addresses the misuse of riches in verses 1-6. In the 7th verse James exhorts God’s people to be patient until the coming of the Lord. What James is addressing is relevant today.

There is a misery coming on those that are rich who do not regard our Lord and Savior. James makes a sobering statement when he says, “You and your silver have rusted; and the rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (James 5:3). Gold and silver don’t rust, so obviously the statement is an exaggeration to make a very important point. We now know that for that generation, the last days referred to the destruction of the Temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the Jewish society as a whole. Men were putting their confidence in “riches,” but those riches were about to perish.

The application is vital for our generation as well. We do not know precisely when the Lord will return, but it is evident we are closer than when we first believed. The culture we have known is on shaky ground. The world economic picture is changing and will continue to change as we approach the end of all things. The exhortation of James to be “patient” is a worthy thing to meditate upon. “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9). In all we do, let the return of Christ be fully central in our minds. Judge your actions as believers, knowing that one day all our actions will be judged by Christ.

The return of Christ is the great filter for our motivations. Our faith is evaluated, not only on trusting Christ in His first coming, but on our confidence in His return. His first coming through His death on the cross provides us with the gift of salvation through repentance and trusting in His shed blood. Our patience toward His return helps us walk in righteousness before God and towards others.

Those who have preceded us, namely the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord, are examples to us of suffering and patience. There are many throughout the world walking in that kind of endurance. Consider Job and his endurance. Also consider the outcome of Job’s endurance. The Lord was merciful and compassionate toward Job. He will also be merciful and compassionate toward us as we endure through difficult times, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who has His reward with Him.

Father, strengthen my patience by helping me be continually focused on the coming of the Lord. Help me to not trust in riches that will parish, but in the true riches of Christ. During this Christmas month, help me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to bear witness, both of Your first coming as the Babe of Bethlehem, but also the Judge who will return to judge the hearts of all. I pray that I might be faithful in difficult times.