KEY THOT: The word "patience" (used 3 times in these two verses in James) is makrothumeo in Greek. It literally means to be of long-temper (makro-long; thumeo-temper). It can also mean to be of long spirit, not losing heart. It carries the idea of persevering patiently and bravely in the face of trials and troubles: "patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others; to be mild and slow to in avenging; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish" (Thayer). To be patient therefore means to be forbearing when faced with opposition. Such patience will establish our hearts, especially in preparing for the coming of the Lord.
Patience also means that we do not quit when the going gets tough. As Oral Roberts once wrote: "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going." James compares this patience with the attitude of the farmer who waits for the fruit of the harvest knowing that he cannot control the environmental factors but he can be faithful in doing what is necessary for a good harvest: proper tilling, right seeding, appropriate fertilizing, regular watering and occasional de-pesting. This quality of patience will become a greater necessity as the day of the Lord draws near, for global social-economic and political situations will become increasingly challenging for true believers. Those who put their trust in the things of this world may find themselves caught in the quagmire.
When we see increasing signs of distress as the Lord draws near, we must not lose heart but must remain steadfast and immovable in our faith. We should now start establishing our hearts by grounding it deeply in God's word so that we can withstand the coming trials and discern the religious deception that will arise to deceive even the elect: "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24).
So this is the time for us not to relax but to exercise persevering patience by sowing the seeds of the gospel whenever and wherever we can so that we may reap the fruit of the harvest of souls in due time.
Father, strengthen our hearts with patient endurance so that we might not stumble in our faith but bear fruits as we await Your coming.