The Book of James

Lesson 12 - "Practicing Patience"

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

James 5:7-12, Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”


-Introduction:

Much of our lives is spent waiting. As a kid, I couldn't wait until I got my first bicycle. Then, I couldn't wait to get my driver's license. Next, I couldn't wait to get my own car. After that I couldn't wait to get out of high school and then out of college. You may be waiting right now. None of us like to wait, but waiting is how we develop patience. In this passage James tells us four ways to practice patience.


#1) We must wait expectantly.

James 5:7-8, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”


The believers to whom this letter was originally written were enduring very difficult circumstances; therefore, James writes: Be patient. The word translated patient means "forbearing" or "longsuffering." It is the idea of waiting under duress. James is telling his brothers and sisters and us to be patient, even in the midst of adverse circumstances.


We should wait expectantly because of the coming of the Lord, at which time everything will be made right. To encourage us to be patient, James uses the example here of a farmer (husbandman) who waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, He plows his field, plants the seed, and then is patient as he waits for the early and latter rain. Farmers in Palestine planted their crops just before the early rain in late October or early November. The latter rain came around March and was essential for a good harvest. The farmer could not hurry the process but had to wait for months to see the fruition of his labor.


Therefore, James writes: Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts. Both farmers and we as believers must live by faith, expectantly looking to the future. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”


James also writes in verse eight, “For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Like the farmer, we must be patient with circumstances beyond our control. We said that to practice patience, we must wait expectantly and...


#2) We must relate gracefully.

James 5:9-10, “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”


Not only do we have to be patient with circumstances but also with people. Therefore, James writes: Grudge not one against another, brethren. The word translated grudge means to "groan" or "sigh." It is to murmur or whisper in discontent. Refraining from grumbling is one way we practice patience. When dealing with difficult people, it seems natural to grumble and complain. But God calls us to do the supernatural and refuse to grumble or be rude. Philippians 2:14 says that we are to, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”


God hates grumbling, and that is why James writes about grumbling: lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. During the Exodus some of the Israelites began to grumble about the conditions in the desert. Numbers 21:5-6, “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”


James next mentions the prophets as an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. God called the prophets to proclaim His message to a backslidden nation, for which they were persecuted and had to face affliction. However, instead of grumbling against their persecutors, they demonstrated patience and continued to fulfill God's purpose for their lives. They are an example of being patient with people, which means like the prophets we should respond to difficult people and mistreatment with biblical principles and with class. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”


Gracious speech is kind and courteous. In NT times salt was used as a preservative to keep things from decaying. Our speech should be seasoned with salt to prevent conversations from turning rotten through such things as gossip, foul language, and dirty jokes.

To practice patience, we must wait expectantly, relate gracefully, and...


#3) We must persevere faithfully.

James 5:11, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”


Don't give up because James says when we endure we are considered happy. The word translated happy indicates we sense God's approval of our behavior and know He will reward us. Therefore, James writes: Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord. Job is the ultimate example of patience when overwhelmed with problems and tragedy. In a few days Job went from being the wealthiest man in the world to losing everything, including all his children. To top it off, he contracted a painful, incurable disease. If you think you have problems, read the book of Job.


We live in the "now generation"—we want everything quickly and don't want to be reminded God never gets in a hurry, even when we are very uncomfortable. God has a purpose for every problem He allows us to have and endure. He is far more concerned with our character than he is our comfort. Patience is never learned instantly in a problem; it is learned when we have a problem for a prolonged period of time because as Romans 5:3 says, "Tribulation worketh patience.”


God doesn't enjoy watching us suffer, but He allows tribulation because it produces patience, which proves our character, and our character is the only thing we can take to heaven. Because God is full of pity or compassion and tender mercy, we need to remember the truth found in Lamentations 3:22 which says, “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”


We said that to practice patience we must wait expectantly, relate gracefully, persevere faithfully, and...


#4) We must communicate honestly.

James 5:12, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”


In James' day deceitfulness was so common every statement had to be affirmed with an oath. Therefore, James echoes the words of Jesus from Matthew chapter five by writing: But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath. The word translated swear means affirming or denying by an oath. Such oaths as "I swear to God" or "I swear on a stack of Bibles" are forbidden here.

This raises the question, "Should I take an oath in a court of law?" The oaths or swearing forbidden in this passage are those given in casual conversation, not formal oaths taken in a court of law. In our fallen world, legal oaths are necessary to guard against perjury and to point out the seriousness of telling the truth and the penalty for giving false testimony. Taking an oath in a court of law and then giving false testimony is perjury, which is a serious offense. It is also a violation of the ninth commandment from Exodus 20:16 which says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”


What we say should always be true and we should have such integrity that James tells us: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. This means we shouldn't have a reputation for exaggeration or lying but should be regarded as so honest that a simple "yes" or "no" is sufficient.


In our culture the word "swear" also means to cuss or use profanity. Do circumstances, people, or problems ever make you cuss? Does your vocabulary change when you get really frustrated or angry? These are sure signs you need to practice patience and pray the prayer found in Proverbs 4:24 that says, “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”


And so to summarize, we said that to practice patience, we must wait expectantly, relate gracefully, persevere faithfully, and communicate honestly. Let’s ask the Lord to help us in each of these areas.


Let’s pray.



Lesson 13  —>