Jan 13, 2019 – Patience
Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series – James: Distilling Faith
James 5:7-12 (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. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 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.
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.
If we lose patience (vv7-8) when challenges arise, our inability to face our difficulties will manifest itself problematically – we will consider two ways.
- v9 “Do not grumble against one another”
- v9 “so that you may not be judged” (Matthew 7:1-5)
- v12 “… above all… do not swear…”
- “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’…” (Matthew 5:37)
- v11 “we consider blessed those who remained steadfast”
Questions for Reflection
- Are you naturally a patient person?
- Are there particular circumstances where you more easily lose your patience? Certain kinds of people with whom you lose patience? Certain experiences or events?
- In what ways do you grumble? Have you tried any strategies to stop grumbling? What are alternatives to grumbling that allow for a healthy expression of whatever has upset you?
- When are you tempted to stretch the truth? When are you tempted to hide the truth?
- In what ways can patience be something you “do” in periods where you are facing a challenge has you overwhelmed?
- James points us to the prophets and Job, assuming the community who studies the Bible will admire the steadfastness of those who were faithful in the face of challenges. Are there people that you admire who persevered and lived honorably despite great challenges? How can you live out some of these “eulogy” virtues?
- How can Jesus help you grow in patience? How can growth in patience help address other areas in need of growth in your life?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, we confess our impatience. How can we love our enemies when we still resent our friends, neighbors and family? Forgive our grumbling, and the various ways we ruminate and fixate on what we perceive to be wrong in our lives and in others. Forgive us for the many times we stretch the truth or hide the truth. Help us to see Jesus so that we are set free from our sin, and help us learn patience so that we would faithfully press on through the challenges of life. Amen.