James 5:7-11 | A PATIENT PURSUIT




EXPLANATION: Here in these verses before us, 6 times in 5 verses James addresses this matter of patience or endurance.
But what can be so quick to miss is the context in which James is saying these things about Patience.
v.7 say, “Be patient THEREFORE”
It comes right after he discussed how those who were wealthy had been cheating those who worked for them out of their paychecks.
It’s very likely that the workers who were being “defrauded” were indeed the very believers James was writing to
They were being cheated and wronged and were no doubt upset and angry about it.
You’ve probably heard someone say it before, “I don’t get angry, I get even”
Revenge was unquestionably on their mind
APPLICATION: Today, we don’t call “getting even” revenge, because we know that the Bible doesn’t support revenge.
No… we call it justification!
“I want justice in this situation where this person wronged me.”
EXPLANATION: But instead of emphasizing how we can get justice, James turns to a far more difficult direction… Patience
APPLICATION: We don’t like it but we can swallow the pill of patience when it comes to waiting in the grocery line
We can train ourselves to be patient when someone is driving slowly in front of us.
As parents we are in a constant battle to have patience with our children
We can even fight to have patience when the preacher is preaching long on Sunday mornings!
And while we can certainly pull application for all of those things from this passage, that is not specifically what James is talking about.
No, James is dealing specifically with having patience in injustice!
Patience in the midst of persecution
Patience when you or someone you love has been wrongfully accused
Patience when those they loved were being brought before the judge, condemned and even murdered as it says in v.6.
No, this patience was on a different level than simply being cut off on the highway.
And the biggest problem with this impatience is who it is directed at… It’s impatience with God.
And what we can learn from what James says can be a powerful reminder and will pave the path for each of us to have patience even in the midst of the greatest injustice.
James gives us temptations to avoid as we seek to be patient in the midst of injustice.


EXPLANATION: In these verses James reminds the readers that the day of the Lord’s coming is just around the corner!
And when He comes, He will deal with all injustice!
Psalm 9:7–10 KJV 1900
7 But the Lord shall endure for ever: He hath prepared his throne for judgment. 8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. 9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. 10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
There is coming a day when the Lord will take away all sorrow and all pain.
There is coming a day when He will wipe away all tears.
There is coming a day when He will rule and reign as king
And that day should be a comfort to every believer.
And it should also remind us that on that day, He will make all wrongs right!
Because as Christians we know that the Bible says in Romans 12:19
Romans 12:19 KJV 1900
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
APPLICATION: Our problem is not that we believe God will take care of it… our problem is that He doesn’t always do it on our timeline.
We are more than willing to put our situation in God’s hands… it’s leaving it there that is the struggle.
If God would deal with our injustice right away, we wouldn’t have a problem.
But God doesn’t work on our timeline.
And when God delays bringing judgment, our response many times is to take over the justice for ourselves.
And that is when we find ourselves in James 5:9
James 5:9 KJV 1900
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
The word grudge there literally mean to complain or to groan
ILLUSTRATION: Right now in our house we are fighting a battle with our kids not to groan when they are told no.
The groans of disappointment when things aren’t done their way.
I wonder where it comes from because I didn’t teach them.
Then here recently my parents got some old VHS tapes of us as kids digitized… and they sent over some videos.
And I discovered where it came from!
APPLICATION: I wonder how often God hears us groan over His timeline?
Impatience in His dealing with injustice.
How much complaining reaches His ears?
Philippians 2:14 KJV 1900
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
But for most Christians, complaining is just a part of our lives!
ILLUSTRATION: I found myself this week looking out the window wondering if I had overslept and woke up in winter.
It’s so easy to complain about things.
But when it comes to murmuring and complaining over injustice, it is nothing short of impatience with God.
And the temptation when all our focus is on that injustice, is to take over.
And we determine that we will become judge, jury, and executioner in the situation.
James warns of doing this in v.9, that you will condemn yourself.
I’ve too often found myself on the giving end of dealing out judgment… only to realize that it was done in my flesh and now I have regrets.
Friend, don’t allow your impatience over your injustice to lead to you taking over.
Let God continue to be God over your injustice… Because the day is coming… and His justice is always perfect.


EXPLANATION: James begins by giving an example of a husbandman or a farmer.
ILLUSTRATION: Tressa’s family has property over in eastern Montana.
While their primary use of the property is for their angus beef cows, there is also a great deal of the property that they use for farming.
They have various machines that are used to plant seed across thousands of acres.
It takes days and days to get everything planted.
But here is the key, they don’t just plant and walk away.
No, there is a lot of prep work in the tilling of the soil before they even start to plant any seeds
They have to come back and spray the land where they planted to try to help prevent weeds from growing and overtaking the plants
They have to watch the land and check regularly to ensure things are growing as they should.
And then their is a whole another world of work on a farm that is necessary that goes beyond just the field that is planted!
APPLICATION: One of the great temptations is believing that patience means that we put our situation in God’s hands, leave it there, but then we stop doing anything else.
We become so focused on the field that we forget the farm!
So many Christians have becomes so paralyzed by the fear of the unknown in our life, that we fail to do that which we know!
ILLUSTRATION: I love the story of Nehemiah!
This week in my Bible reading I found myself back in that familiar book reminded of the powerful story that is contained!
Nehemiah was broken hearted when found that the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and his people were being afflicted.
So Nehemiah made his way back to Jerusalem and began construction on the wall!
But anytime you try to do something for God, you can mark it down you are going to face resistance!
Sanballat and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Amomonites, and the Ashodites all came together and the Bible says they conspired to fight and hinder the work happening in Jerusalem.
They tried to stop them from building the wall.
And I love what the Bible says in Nehemiah 4:17
Nehemiah 4:17 KJV 1900
17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
They were fighting the resistance that was coming but they didn’t stop from doing they’re primary work!
Then you come over to chapter 6 and now Sanballat and another fella named Geshem come on the scene Nehemiah 6:2-4
Nehemiah 6:2–4 KJV 1900
2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? 4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
Nehemiah could have came down off the wall and met with them… but he knew their was a greater work to be done, and he refused to be distracted!
You know, in the end, God worked all the problems out with those that were resisting Nehemiah… and He did it when Nehemiah continued faithfully doing the main work God had called Him to do.
APPLICATION: You see we can fall into the temptation of patiently waiting for God to work and forget that we are called to something far more important.
Matthew 28:18–20 KJV 1900
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
There are so many Christians who have been patiently waiting for God to resolve their injustice while on the sidelines of the Christian life.
Christian… don’t forget about the farm because you’re so focused on one field!
2 Corinthians 5:20–6:4 KJV 1900
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
You are an ambassador for Christ, and as an ambassador you will face afflictions, and you should do so with much patience as it says in 6:4… but don’t forget you are an ambassador first!
The day will come with justice will be served, and God never makes a wrong judgment.
But until that day… don’t confuse patience with inactivity for Christ!
Keep building the wall while your fighting the enemy!
Keep building the wall even when your tempted to stop
Keep working the farm, while you patiently wait for the field to produce!
Don’t fall to the temptation to STOP!
Don’t fall to the temptation to TAKE OVER!


EXPLANATION: These believers were just like us today.
When the injustice came and the discouragement set in, the temptation to isolate began to take over.
To believe, “I’m the only one to go through something like this.”
James snaps them out of that mindset by reminding them of the prophets who had endured patiently before them.
And he says, “we count them happy which endured.”
That word that he used there, is the same word that Jesus used in His sermon on the mount.
Matthew 5:3–12 KJV 1900
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Those who have been through so much are the same ones that we say are the blessed one! The happy ones!
And then James gives that final example that we discussed last week… Job
After everything Job faced… God blessed him!
Because he PATIENTLY endured!
ILLUSTRATION: Elijah had just won and incredible victory!
The battle at Mount Carmel was incredible… one of the greatest in the whole Bible!
But then we turn the page in 1 Kings 19 and find a very different picture.
Elijah is tired and Jezebel is threatening his.
Elijah had finally thought he had one a victory for the Lord and overcome the injustices of being accused of being the one who had caused the draught in Isreal for 3 1/2 years and now he is right back in the thick of it.
He’s once again facing the injustice of persecution.
And in 1 Kings 19:4
1 Kings 19:4 KJV 1900
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
So God feeds him and takes care of him and gives him rest
And while he’s in the cave God asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:10 KJV 1900
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
It’s just me… I’m all alone… No one else is going through what I’m going through.
Isolation because of injustice.
According to Elijah’s timeline the battle had been won in chapter 18… so why was he still facing injustice in chapter 19?
You know, God didn’t say, “You’re right Elijah… you shouldn’t have to go through this.”
“Oh Elijah… You’re so smart… I should have done it your way.”
No, God had a different answer for Elijah 1 Kings 19:15-18
1 Kings 19:15–18 KJV 1900
15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
He was saying, “Elijah, my plan is so much bigger than your plan!
And just so you know, you aren’t the only one to go through injustice!
APPLICATION: When injustice comes in your life, and it will, do you find yourself isolating?
“I’m the only one… nobody knows.”
Can I just remind all of us, myself included… you aren’t the first to face injustice… and you won’t be the last.
The only One Who could have accurately made that claim hung on a cross for your sins and mine.
And instead of saying “I’m the only one, nobody knows,” He said, “Father, not my will but thine be done.”
He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
He said, “Father why hast thou forsaken me.”
Yes, Jesus suffered injustice alone… so that you and I would never have to!


APPLICATION: So what can we do to avoid the temptations that come with impatience with injustice?
Hebrews 12:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Friend, choose today, instead of taking control… instead of just stopping in your service for the Lord… instead of isolating yourself…
Instead run with patience your race… And keep your eyes focused on the One Who suffered injustice alone in your place!
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more