Speaking to the Soul – August 22

Patient endurance

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

If we are honest, most of us would rather not have to face problems and difficulties. We often pray that God would take away any challenges in life so that we can enjoy a life of peace and joy. Surely that is just the sort of thing he would want for us!

But in our broken and disordered world, we, like everyone else, will have to face many difficulties and challenges. And, as Christians, we have Jesus’ assurance that we will have an additional layer of burdens and opposition to bear simply because we follow him. Jesus told his disciples that the world was bound to hate them in just the same way as it hated him because they, too, did not belong to the world (John 15:18-19).

This means we need to be equipped to face all kinds of testing and temptation. That’s why James stressed the importance of endurance in this opening chapter of his letter. His readers needed to hang in there through good times and bad. They needed to stand strongly in their faith whether they were being loved or loathed. And the same is absolutely true today.

God’s call to us is to endure patiently. We would love him to transform our situation and remove our problems, but he often calls us to stay exactly where we are. He calls us to hang in there. I think of people who are doing the incredibly costly work of caring for an elderly or disabled relative. As much as they love the person they are caring for, they would love to be set free from the stresses and responsibilities that come with it. But God calls them to endure patiently.

There are many who live with people who are consistently cynical and critical of their Christian faith. It takes a great deal of strength to keep going in such a situation, but I believe God calls us to endure patiently in the face of such opposition. James doesn’t try to dress it up. Following Christ is tough in a world that is fundamentally opposed to God. The need for patient endurance is a crucial aspect of Christian living in every generation.

In what specific ways have you had to show patient endurance?

Loving God, thank you that you give me the strength and patience to stand for you. Help me to become more resilient as I live closer to you. Amen