Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – Jms. 5:7-8 NIV
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With the over-riding influence of Satan, being the god of this earth, since he was hurled unto the earth, the people of the earth cannot but continue to experience pain and distress – Rev. 12:8-9; 12. This will continue to be the state of man until the coming of the reign of the Prince of Peace, but it is still possible for man to enjoy relative peace on earth. That will however happen, only if man can remain steadfast in the Will of God and is prepared to fight a huge battle with Satan. Although, the battle will manifest as actions being perpetuated by human beings who are wrongly classed as enemies, the real battle is against Satan, who is the one using fellow human beings to perpetuate all those battles, but the one who has Jesus Christ will continue to overcome those battles as they emerge – 1Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12.
The entire life time of man can then be viewed as a War, which is made up of several battles. Victory in one is a signal for the commencement of the next one, and so the man that wishes to succeed in life must always be preparing for the next battle or must be strategizing on how to win an ongoing battle. Although it is possible to strike an agreement with the one that temporarily controls the earth in these times and age, the consequence of such agreement is an eternity that will be spent in hell fire, which is the final destination of Satan and all that agree with him – Rev. 20:7-10.
In order to avoid this eternal destination, and the individual still willing to enjoy relative peace in this realm, such must be prepared to fight and be victorious in several battles of life. This period of battling ultimately manifests as a season of trial and turbulence in the life of the Christian, who has taken the decision to reject Satan, worship the Almighty God and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Although there is assurance of victory and periodical peace, it should not be expected to occur without periods of war and turbulence, periods which the Christian finds him/her self in battle with Satan. Unfortunately, this is the truth that most Christians do not know or wish to deny, as they have been given the wrong impression that being a Christian means that such will experience no more turbulence or trials in this world after accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour, just as there is assurance of peace in the life after life.
All Christians should actually prepare for a life filled with turbulence, with the only assurance they have, being that, they will be victorious in every battle that they are engaged in, if they remain in the Faith. This has always been the fate of all Christians and will remain so until Jesus Christ returns, and has always been an integral part of the message of great Christian leaders in bible times. James, the brother of Jesus Christ and possibly the first Bishop of the Christian Church in Jerusalem was not different as he equally encouraged Christians to remain patient during the suffering that accompanies the turbulent periods of the Christian journey.
In the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he advised Christians to remain patient during trials until the coming of Jesus Christ. Comparing this waiting period to that of a farmer who remains patient through all seasons for a harvest that he is sure will come, he advises the Christian to likewise remain patient and stand firm till the Saviour arrives. Two words stand out in the advise of James to Christians then and today, which are basically the need for them to be patient and stand firm during trial times.
The Christian that is patiently waiting for the arrival of the Lord into his/her situation is the one that is prepared to have only the solution that comes from that source, as the acceptable solution, as any other solution, no matter how attractive it may be, will not be acceptable to such. Offers from different sources promising relief from the pain associated such difficult times will be stoutly rejected, not because of its inability to provide relief, but because it is not a solution from the Jehovah and has no foundation in Jesus Christ. Ignorance of not knowing that the offer is not from Jehovah and His Saviour will not be acceptable, just as the one who is waiting on the Lord cannot claim to run out of patience, as that amounts to being impatient. The one who is patient is the one who perseveres in the situation until a confirmed divine solution appears.
James also advises that the Christian must stand firm. To stand firm implies that there is the existence of forces working to make such deny the Faith. Faced with many challenges, all coming at the same time from different directions, things can become so overwhelming, sufficiently to make such deny the Faith. The impression that is given of one being a failure and the pressure of friends and family members, may become unbearable and have a strong negative effect on the Faith of such an individual. James advises that the Christian must be willing to stand firm, just like Job and the prophets of old did in similar situations, in the face of all these attacks, and not yield spiritual ground – Job 2:9-11; 4:1-23:17.
None of these events should come suddenly on the Christian. If there is a Christian who is yet to experience any of such, then, such should be in expectation of one very soon. It is simply impossible to be a Christian without having such experiences, but the consolation should be the expectation that Jesus Christ will ultimately appear in that situation and bring peace, but not an everlasting one, since another situation created by the devil will emerge, that will bring another round of turmoil. The wise Christian should therefore be more prepared at all times, awaiting the arrival of the next period of turbulence as that remains the only way to mitigate the effect of the turbulence when it arrives.
Unfortunately, both attributes of patience and standing firm are not achievable by the natural man as the support of the supernatural will be required. That is why the Christian that desires to be patient in the midst of trials of life will need to plead for the Holy Spirit because, he it is that can confer the attribute of patience on the believer, since it has it as its fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), and the spiritual power to stand firm during the sufferings that accompany the trial period – Acts 1:5-8. Ask for that Spirit today as possessing the Holy Spirit will be the beginning of your journey to victory over all the sufferings that you may encounter as a Christian, during those times of trials. May God grant us all the ability to remain patient and firm during life’s trials in Jesus name. Amen.