James 5:8 KJV
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Does it seem to you as it seems to me, that James is obsessed with patience? Do you think, as I just thought, that perhaps this is because his brother, Jesus, was very patient with him? James most likely watched his brother from afar, joining the crowds around Him, but never becoming a follower and never chosen as a disciple. I wonder how Jesus felt about that? My guess is that He as not concerned with it. He made the statement that to follow Him, one must forsake their mother, their brother, their sisters, etc. James was probably there when He said that, and perhaps was offended. James did not follow His brother closely, but He finally came to know the Savior under Paul’s ministry, years after Jesus had died. He then realized how patient Jesus had been with him. Perhaps this is why James talks about patience so much. He had quite a lesson in the patience of his brother and his Savior. He knows that Jesus wants us to have this same patience toward one another.
So how do we learn this type of patience? James says we must establish our hearts. This word establish means to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix , strengthen, make firm, to render constant or to confirm. Those are some strong words, indicating a serious commitment. How do I get to this point in my life, where my heart is truly established in the things of the Lord? I wish I had all the answers to that question but perhaps I can offer a few suggestions.
James gives us a couple hints. One at the end of verse 7, where he says the farmers waited for the former and the latter rain. The rain is symbolism of the Holy Spirit. When James speaks of the the latter rain here, he is talking spiritually about the Holy Spirit bringing us truth (July 16:13) from the word and bringing that truth to our remembrance (John 14:26) as we need it so we can rightfully divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). As we rely more and more on the Holy Spirit to do this work, we rely less on our own intellect, our own wisdom. Our own wisdom is foolishness to God (I Cor 3:19). I have heard about more “intellectual” groups who have come up with the most absurd theories on the life of Christ. Many of our main line denominational leadership is straying farther and farther from the truth of the bible. These are intellectuals relying on human wisdom. Their hearts are not established in Christ, in the word. So step #1 is to rely on the Holy Spirit, listen to Him, and learn the truth of God’ word.
Perhaps that’s not as clear to some as it has to be. Here is good way to go about allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth contained in the word. Read Psalm 1. Then meditate on it for a while. By meditating on it, I mean just spend some time thinking about the truths contained in it. Think about the words and how they are interconnected, and how the verses associate with each other. What is the common thread in this Psalm? Now write out each verse in your own words. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words as best you can. Write from the depths of your heart how these verses, one at a time, speaks to you. Your own words, from your own heart. How does it apply to you? How does this effect you? What do you need to change to fulfill the verse, or to stop the behavior that matches the verse if that be the case? Do you see yourself being able to fulfill the positives and releasing the negatives? These steps are all art of meditating on the word.
As you go through scripture this way, you will be fully examining every aspect, and you will find that this verse will become more established in your heart. The Holy Spirit will be with you as you answer these questions and will help you to write out where you stand on the issues pertaining to what God wants from you in this scripture. As you do more and more scripture this what, you will become more established in the word. Let the latter rain flow freely in your life!
The second clue is what James says next in this verse. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. If James believed this then, how much more do the signs of the times point to this today? We must become more aware of this truth, and draw closer to Him than ever before. Jesus said this in Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Are we doing His will? Are we established enough to know what His will for our lives is? I can tell you this much about knowing what God’s will is for your life. It is following His guidance day in and day out. Allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us in every situation. Having the faith and patience to endure any trial. Speaking kindly to all, not being anxious about tomorrow, displaying the love of I Cor 13 – the list goes on and on. We need to strive daily to fulfill these words. And when we don’t we need to repent.
David was called a man after God’s own heart. Why? He committed adultery, had a man killed so he could take the mans wife, could not control his kids, disobeyed God several times, and was a renegade hunted by King Saul. How is this a man after God’s own heart? It’s because he always repented and placed himself in God’s hands when he did wrong. He always took his misery and wore it on his sleeve, bringing it to God. A repentant heart is what God desires from us (Psalm 51:17), before works, or praise (Matt 5:24), or any other thing. If we are not walking in repentance on a daily basis, we need to have God search our hearts more often (Psalm 139:23-24). It is then we will see our need.
If you would like to embark on a journey to a repentant heart, I would like to recommend a truly compelling, 24 week daily bible study Io have been through a couple times. It has changed me both times and drawn me closer to God. It is called “The Walk of Repentance” by Steve Gallagher and can be found on Amazon. It will challenge you, but it will also establish the word in your heart trough the principles outlined above.