One week ago, I had just finished the last study with a group of friends on the Book of James. He was Christ’s kin, he started out an unbeliever, but then a visit from a resurrected brother gave him a heart transplant.
It’s been a challenging study, addressing such things as the untamable tongue, the definition of God’s wisdom, warnings and promises.
And as we completed the final chapter, a small part of a sentence arrested me. In verse 8. The full verse says,
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
I sketched a doodle during the study…
These three words amplified themselves. At odd and random moments they kept leaping to the forefront of my mind. What exactly did they mean? The context surrounding this verse was encouraging the believers to be patient, to suffer affliction with endurance as they waited Christ’s return. Those same words apply today.
We still await His return, we still are asked to wait patiently; to endure many afflictions and much grief.
I was reading an article yesterday about a pregnant woman in a foreign country. She is a Christian but had been found guilty of leaving another faith. She was going to be allowed to give birth and then she is to be executed. And I know this word, this establishing your heart, is just as much for her as it was for those that heard James. She was asked to recant, she would not.
She is “sterizoing” her heart.
This from Bible Hub:
stérizó: to make fast, establish
Original Word: στηρίζω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (stay-rid’-zo)
Short Definition: I fix firmly, strengthen
Definition: (a) I fix firmly, direct myself towards, (b) generally met: I buttress, prop, support; I strengthen, establish.
4741 stērízō (from stēringks, “a support that fixes, plants down”; akin to 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand,” having a duplication of the primitive Gk root/sta, “to make stand”) – properly, set fast (fix); give support to secure (firmly establish); solidly plant (which eliminates vacillation).
And from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:
STRONGS NT 4741: στηρίζω
στηρίζω; future στηριξω (as in the best Greek writings), and στηρίσω (in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 manuscript Vat., as in Jeremiah 17:5; στηριῶ, Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 24:6; Ezekiel 14:8; Sir. 6:37 (see references below)); 1 aorist ἐστήριξα, and ἐστήρισα (στήρισον, Luke 22:32 L T Tr WH; Revelation 3:2 G L T Tr WH, as in Judges 19:5, 8; Ezekiel 6:2; Proverbs 15:25, etc.; cf. (WHs Appendix, p. 170); Alexander Buttmann (1873) Ausf. Sprchl. i., p. 372; Buttmann, 36 (32); Kühner, § 343, i., p. 910; (Veitch, under the word)); passive, perfect ἐστηριγμαι; 1 aorist ἐστηρίχθην; (στῆριγξ a support; akin to στερεός, which see, στερρός, and German stärken; cf. Curtius, § 222); from Homer down;
a. to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix: ἐστήρικται (χάσμα), is fixed, Luke 16:26; στηρίζω τό πρόσωπον, to set one’s face steadfastly, keep the face turned (Ezekiel 6:2; Ezekiel 13:17; Ezekiel 15:7; etc.) τοῦ πορεύεσθαι εἰς with an accusative of place, a Hebrew expression (see πρόσωπον, 1 b. (and cf. Buttmann, § 140, 16 δ.; Winer’s Grammar, 33)), Luke 9:51.
b. to strengthen, make firm; tropically (not so in secular authors) to render constant, confirm, one’s mind (A. V. establish): τινα, Luke 22:32; (Acts 18:23 where R G ἐπιστηρίζων); Romans 1:11; Romans 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 5:10 (here Rec. has 1 aorist optative 3 person singular στηρίξαι); Revelation 3:2; τήν καρδίαν τίνος, 1 Thessalonians 3:13; James 5:8; τινα ἐν τίνι, 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Peter 1:12. (Compare: ἐπιστηρίζω.)
Friday night as I drove to the hospital where Hannah was, I prayed for God to “fix” my heart…in my weakness I realize it is something I cannot do apart from Him.
His coming is at hand. It’s a promise.