How many times have we driven past a larger house in our neighborhood and wished for more? Or envied a celebrity we see on our television screen? Or walked around a car dealership “just browsing” because our car is out of date?
Envy takes our eyes off of our provider and convinces us that if we just had more of His provision everything would be OK. James saw this same lie gaining traction in the church thousands of years ago. People were getting rich from doing things their way while the church felt forgotten while doing things Jesus’ way.
James’ answer? “Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8).
When your co-worker receives the promotion you deserved, it is hard to be patient and wait on Jesus. When a friend buys a house with no money down while you’re committed to paying down debt, it is hard to persevere and wait. The church will face all kinds of suffering and temptation, and James is careful to reiterate this truth: Those who persevere will be blessed (James 5:11).
We’ll experience many blessings over the course of our lives. The Lord loves to provide for His kids, and He loves to see us smile. But nothing we experience on Earth will come close to what it will be like to spend eternity in heaven. That’s why Jesus warned us not to get distracted with building up wealth on earth. Money and stuff will eventually disappear. Instead, Jesus tells us to focus on what lasts — our relationship with Him (Matthew 6:19-21).
The Christian life may not seem to be paying off now. But steadfastly pursuing Jesus does something greater in our hearts than a boost to our bank accounts. It gives us security in our relationship with Jesus instead of the ever-changing wealth of the world.
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