Model Citizen

 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. 12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

James 5:7–12 (NAS)

There are those in everyone’s life you look up to. You want to be like that person, not in terms of wealth and prestige, but in strength of character. I cannot picture a particular individual in my mind, but I can call out the traits I admire.

We’re all so flawed it’s hard to firmly possess every facet of an exemplary life. The correct answer is always “Jesus,” but he is God, for heaven’s sake. We might call to mind a biblical character, but Paul was a steamroller at times and Peter ran both hot and cold. The only prominent person I can recall with no blemishes would appear to be Daniel. Joseph runs a close second, but he tried to angle his way out of prison, and he toyed with his brothers too long, in my opinion.

Yes, Daniel is worthy of emulation. Served under five kings. Stuck to his guns. Fearless. Faultless. Faithful.

James does refer to one Bible character, Job, known for his suffering and endurance, but we’d rather dwell on the “successful.” I did read the full book of Job once all the way through. But it’s not pleasant, and we like a certain degree of fantasy in our worlds, and his plight was raw and foreboding. In reality, life turns out to reflect more of what he went through than the Bible-in-pictures view of Daniel—but believe me, Daniel suffered.

What should not be lost is that when all was said and done, Job was rewarded with compassion and mercy.

Glean from James’s words here (7-12) the enviable composite character of a model Christian. He or she is patient, strong, long suffering, faithful, peaceful, guileless, honorable and God-fearing.

If the Lord is near, like a dad in the stands watching me play, should I not be careful to make him proud?

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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