James 5:9-13 – A Word to the Afflicted
James is dealing with affliction in the lives of God’s people. Affliction will come – it’s all about how we deal with it. If handled in the proper way, it will ultimately turn to our good. If managed incorrectly, it brings despair, discouragement and confusion.
James 5:9-13 – “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 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. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.”
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Types of Affliction
Affiction comes in many ways, shapes and forms. James leaves it open so that it will apply to us all, no matter what we’re going through. Here we will list a few examples of affliction. Apply it to whatever you may be going through.
- Things of our own making. There’s a natural consequence to our actions and decisions. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Many are dealing with things we have brought on ourselves. We must be will to deal with the consequences of our actions and decision, face them, and move on from it. Seek God, His direction, and move forward in obedience to Him.
- The trials of life. Trials are simply a part of life. Everyone goes through them. Some, it seems, go through worse things than others but we all go through them. I would encourage you to study with this James 1:2-4 – Count it All Joy.
- Spiritual conflict. If you are a saved, blood washed, born again believer, you will face spiritual battles. Before you were saved the devil had you (Ephesians 2:1-3, 1 John 5:19). When you gave your heart to Jesus you became Satan’s enemy. In these last days the spiritual conflict is intensifying exponentially.
Ephesians 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Revelation 12:12 – “The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
- Conflict with the world. The world in which we live is in opposition to God, the things of God, and the people of God. We fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. There will always be conflict as long as we are in this world. We must “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
- Strife among the brethern. At times, much of our afflictions comes, not from the world but from among our own brethren. It comes by means of accusations, criticism, and complaint.
Romans 8:31, 33 and 34 – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.”
Romans 14:4 and 10 – “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
- Physical affliction. Many may be battling physical affliction and though we must persevere in the midst of it, we must also stand on the promises of God for divine health and healing. We must persevere in faith believing God for His intervention. Divine health and healing was provided for in the atonement (Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 53:3-5, Psalms 103:1-5, Mark 16:18, Romans 8:11, 1 Peter 2:24-25, James 5:13-15).
- Life itself. Life has a way of taking much of the fight out of us. When the things of life drains us of our strength and takes the fight out of us we must press on. We must continue moving forward with undaunted perseverance.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:10 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
Resist the Bitterness of Affliction
James 5:9 – “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
It’s easy to hold a grudge and become bitter in times of affliction no matter what type of affliction we are facing. We can become bitter at the spiritual conflict, the conflict of this world, tension with our brother and sisters in Christ, physical and financial problems, life in general, and even God Himself.
Hebrews 12:15 – “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
Bitterness can become a bitter root in our lives cause us to miss the grace of God in our life and situation, destroying us and those closest to us. It can affect every aspect of our life. It must be resisted with everything that’s in us. We must forgive ourself, all that life has thrown our way, and even God.
Colossians 3:13 – “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Bitterness is often the glue keeping us in our present affliction.
Bitterness is like a man drinking a cup of poison hoping it kills the other guy. It brings with it nothing but trouble.
Let God deal with it!
Romans 12:19-21 – “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Swear Not – Don’t be Rash in Word
James 5:12 – “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
In times of affliction don’t be rash in what you say. It’s easy to say things that are detrimental when in the midst of trouble, things that are not beneficial, and that we may later wish we could retract. It’s out of the bitterness of our situation that we utter words we may later regret. What we say can either bring blessing into our life and situation or condemnation – “lest ye fall into condemnation.”
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 – “When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.”
Numbers 30:2 – “If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth”
Ecclesiastes 5:2-4 – “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.”
Matthew 5:33-37 – “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
Matthew 12:36-37 – “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Proverbs 18:20-21 – “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Endurance in Affliction
James 5:10 – “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”
Endurance, long-suffering, patience, and perseverance is a must. It does little good to give up. The devil knows that the only way he will prevail is to get us to quit and give up. If we refuse to quit we will prevail and overcome all adversity. Victory will be ours!
Matthew 10:22 – “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Acts 20:23-24 – “The Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
2 Timothy 2:3 – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 4:5 – “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Hebrew 12:1 and 3 – “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 (endurance) the race that is set before us. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Prayer and Praise
James 5:13 – “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
We must remain constant in prayer and praise in all that we go through in this life whether good or bad.
Romans 12:12 – “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfast) in prayer.”
Hebrews 13:15 – “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”
Affliction Plus Endurance Produces Blessing
James 5:10-11 – “Behold, we count them happy (blessed, to be envied) 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.”
There is something to look forward to both now and at the end of our race. God does reward faithfulness! There’s a prize at the end of the course He has set before you. Hang in there! Don’t give up! At the end of Job’s test God restored all that he lost.
SEE: The Benefits of Trials and Suffering
The here and now…
Job 42:10 – “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Joel 2:25 – “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.”
The life to come…
2 Timothy 4:6-8 – “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”
Hebrew 12:2 – “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.”
Philippians 2:5-11 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Romans 8:17-18 – “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Philippians 3:12-14 – “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (trials and testings): for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”