James 1:4 KJV
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Okay now I think James is gone off the deep end. I mean let’s consider what he said so far. He said that we should have joy when we fall into temptation. We all hate temptation but he tells us to have joy. And the reason he tells us that is because we should know that faith when it’s tried produces patience. So in essence what he’s telling us is that when trouble comes be patient. That’s a hard thing to swallow.
Verse 4 comes tells us why we should have that joy in those trials. James tells us that when patience is done working in our lives we will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. WOW. Doesn’t that sound like a place where you would like to be? A place where your life feels full and you seem to have everything you need? If that is where you want to be then here is your answer. Be patient.
But brother Pete. I thought that love was the key thing that we need! I thought that the most important thing was that we love our neighbor as ourselves and love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. I don’t see anything there about patience.
That is where it gets interesting. Where do most of your troubles come from? Do they come from your own mistakes and your own lack of wisdom in certain areas? Or do they come from the things that other people do and say? Do they come from worrying about what’s happened to somebody else? Or is it troubles that come because we don’t have the discipline we need in certain areas of our lives? Where do temptations and troubles really come from in our lives?
I would submit to you, as James does here, that if we can learn to have patience in all of these areas then our lives would be drastically changed. If we would learn to wait on the Lord and take these situations as a matter of faith, then how would they change and how would our prayer life change? Can we learn to remember that God’s timing is perfect in this microwave society, where we want everything right away. God always knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows what we need. If he has not answered your prayer in the way you expect him to then patience is the most important thing you can have.
I did a little word study on that word perfect this morning. It means pretty much what you think it does. I would compare it to a fruit on the vine that has matured or a house a building that has been completed and is ready to be used for the purpose that it was made for. When we become perfect in the Lord we are ready to be used for the purpose we were made for.
As I dictate this on Tuesday morning the Lord is just filling my spirit and I’m weeping before God as I catch the true meaning of this verse. You have to know that when I do these blogs I rely on the Holy Spirit to give me exactly what to say at the moment that I’m tying or dictating it. I don’t go out and study things ahead of time and try to figure it out I give it to God. And right now He showed me this truth – that our trials and tests bring us to the point of maturity so that He can use us to fulfill His plan for our lives It’s just overwhelming me. I’m wiping the tears from my eyes. What an amazing God we serve.
Can I share with you why this struck me so deeply? I hope you answered yes because I’m going to. When I look at my life I see so many trials and tribulations that God has brought me through. Some have been through joy when I took James 1: 2 and applied it and some not. Ten years ago I had a huge battle against pride that almost ruined my marriage. I lost my job of 20 years because of it. I went to a ministry in Kentucky called Pure Life Ministry for 8 months to try and get my life straightened out. That test was a phenomenal test for me and for my wife. But God brought us through even though the joy of James was not too evident. This diagnosis of cancer in March of 2016 came and if you don’t think cancer is a trial and a test of your faith then you don’t know cancer very well. I approached it with joy this time. I knew that God would bring me through it., so I accepted it with joy and trusted God There was never any doubt in my mind.
When I look at this verse and apply it the way James has written it, I plainly see these trials I went through were there to try my faith so that patience would be produced. Patience in both cases brought me through as I waited upon God. And that patience is there to perfect me, to help me become mature in Christ, so that I can fulfill the call He has put on my life. Through this battle with cancer I can’t tell you how many people have been affected by the writing that I’ve been doing. Between the poems on my Psalmist page to the study through Psalms, I have had hundreds of people tell me that they were touched and moved and affected by the words that God has given me. I’ve even had one young man who accepted Christ because he read one of my poems.
I don’t say these things to boast. I say these things to show you that even in the deepest test our lives can go through, God is at work. God is perfecting us in our faith as we wait upon him with patience to go through the battle. He is with us every step of the way and patience will bring us through to the other side, a vessel that is ready for His purpose and His use. What more could a person want? How can I ask God for any more then His perfect will in my life? It is only arrived at by waiting upon Him and having the patience and the faith to go through the trial with joy. Always remember that just because we can’t see God working doesn’t mean He isn’t working. He works the hardest when He is silent in our lives!
One the thing about patience. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, right? Then He tells us our neighbor could be the person we despise (Good Samaritan). I would submit this is only possible if we learn patience. Our neighbors can put us through our most difficult tests, and our response should be to pray that God will change us where He needs to so we can understand the pain they have in their lives. People aren’t mean just to be mean – there is an area of hurt in their lives that we can’t see, and they lash out at those around as a means of protection from being hurt more. When we learn to empathize with them, and have patience and pray for them, we truly learn to love them. Here is patience at work perfecting our love!
What are you going through today? What trial or temptation has you bothered or upset. I adjure you to find the joy of the Lord in the middle of that trial. Know that God is at work in your life through that person or that incident that’s going on. Know that God is perfecting you even though it seems like you’re falling apart. We have joy when were tempted because our faith will produce patience and patience will perfect us. It perfects us because we learn to wait on God. Then, as we’re perfected, we won’t need anything else because we have God – and He becomes all we need. Then we will be perfect and entire wanting nothing.