As we think of James’ focus on patience, three applications seem suitable. First, the requirement for patience is very counter cultural and that in two ways. Often the response of people when they have suffered is to take revenge. Here the believers are being told to leave revenge with the Lord and not to take it themselves. Again, today we live in instant society where we are led to assume that answers will be provided immediately. But that is not the law of God’s kingdom. He works to his own timetable, and our response is to be steadfastness or persistence.
Second, we should choose our heroes from those who are good examples of devoted service for Jesus. We all need role models. Sadly, today people try and copy celebrities and most of them are not good examples for Christians. Instead we should follow those who serve the Lord from the heart. We can read about them in biographies and see some of them in videos. It is also inevitable, given the nature of God’s grace, that we will see them in churches to which we belong. The best ones are in the Bible because there we have God’s descriptions of their lives. Not one of them was perfect, but all of them were dedicated servants of the Lord.
Third, the words of James here about the second coming challenge us to think about how our lives will look when they are assessed on the Day of Judgement. What will Jesus the Judge think then of our words and actions said and done today? He knows all the details and he will pronounce an accurate verdict. Our degree of dedication and the value of our words will resurface on that day. It is good to know that the Lord is merciful, but it is also important to remember that he is truthful and impartial, and we will discover each of them when we stand before him at the end of the day.