Brothers and Sisters,
(James 5:11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
I’m sure everyone’s desire is to be “happy”. I’ve always been told that “happiness” is based on circumstances, but “joy” is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ and I believe this statement to be true. Lot’s of people base what they do on trying to be “happy”. I’ve heard people who were just about to walk out of a relationship say, “I think God just wants me to be happy”. I’m sure that’s the case, however, what they are about to do does not line up with the Word of God. I’ve found in my own life that the secret to having peace, joy and contentment in life is to follow the teachings of the Bible. When you violate scripture, it will never turn out good. The pleasures of sin are only for a season. Satan and the world will allure you off into what seems like “happiness”, but the end is death. (Proverbs 16:25) There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
With that being said, let’s look at our text verse this morning in James 5:11. That verse begins with the word “Behold”. We find that word throughout the Bible and it just simply means to take a good look at what is being said. “We count them happy which endure”. So, the key to true happiness is reserved for those who “endure”.
Paul tells his understudy, Timothy, to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”. (2 Timothy 2:3-4) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
We all would like to think that once we come to Christ for salvation that life would become easier for us when actually the opposite is true. You see, living the Christian life is in direct opposition to this world’s way of living. It’s not easy living for Christ in this present world. You’ve heard me say many times, “being a Christian is not for wimps”. It takes endurance, but it will be worth it all in the end.
Now examine the rest of the verse (James 5:11). “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy”. Here we are being asked to take into account the life and patience of Job. We all know the story of what happened to this man. In one day, he lost all of his material wealth and even his sons and daughters. One messenger after another came running up to Job with the bad news. I’ve always been amazed at Job’s response to all that happened to him on that day. (Job 1:20-22) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
We have to endure lots of heartaches, pain, disappointments and grief in this life. I guess the hardest thing that I’ve had to endure so far was the loss of my wife last year. It’s still fresh on my mind. Yesterday was our 41st anniversary.
As Paul Harvey used to say, “now for the REST of the story”. God was faithful to Job and returned to him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:12-17) So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.
During that last 140 years, does it sound as if Job had a “happy” life. He was able to see 4 generations of his descendants. I can tell you that my 2 grandchildren bring me the most happiness in my personal life and I thank God for them every day.
So, just keep living for God and endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. It’s going to be worth it all in the end.