8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:8).
What do you think James means by “establish your hearts”? One way to consider this this
phrase would be “strengthen your hearts”. Does that help your understanding of what James
might be trying to communicate? He is calling his people press into right living in the midst of
trial. Remember that the people James was originally writing to were people who were
persecuted for their faith. He calls them to be patient for the day when Jesus would return to
make all things right, but as they wait, to press into faithful living because we don’t want to have
fallen away from God when he returns. It’s a call to continue in what they know to be true.
Oftentimes, when we are suffering, we are tempted to lose our faith. That happened quite
a bit in the first few hundred years of Christianity when Christians were persecuted more
James knows this is a strong reality and wants to exhort his people to “establish their
hearts!” Meaning, to strongly lay hold of what they know is true. Kind of like how you would
strongly hold onto something firm if you were in a boat that was being tossed around by waves.
You’d want to hold on tight so that you didn’t get thrown overboard. James is saying, hold on to
what you know in the midst of suffering so that your faith doesn’t get thrown overboard! Jesus
will be returning soon and you want to be walking with him when he returns.
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
• In these verses, who is the one who does the establishing of our hearts? God or us?
• Who could you pray for who might be suffering right now and tempted to lose their faith?
• Maybe you could pray this verse specifically for them.
Our Father, may you work in us to establish our hearts so that we love you and your glory more
than our physical, mental, or emotional comfort. We know that we’ll be tested in this life, but
help us to keep our eyes on the day when you return and make all things right. We know thatone day very soon all of our suffering will be over. We thank you for this promise. In Jesus’name, Amen.