2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Jam. 1:2-4
The first thing I want to say is how attractive the two words “patience” and “perfect” appear to me. They fascinate me. From afar. They draw me to them with a great sense of wonderment.
Is it even possible to imagine that one could ever arrive at being “perfect and entire, wanting nothing” in the Spirit? The thought seems presumptuous. And yet the Apostle James coolly tells us here that it is possible; and he makes it appear so easy. In just a few steps, he makes it possible for us to arrive at Godly perfection.
But… You cannot just wake up one morning and say, “Abracadabra! I am perfect!” To arrive where the Apostle Paul arrived at – “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) – is an incredibly long and painful step process. But it is joyous and relieving in the Spirit.
Every believer loves dancing and rejoicing like David in the Bible. It is all good and acceptable before God to sing with joy when things are going in our favor. But have we ever stopped to think that the Bible specifically commands us to rejoice when things are going against us. Like when we are being opposed. Or when we are financially broke. Or, even, when we are sick.
The charismatic gospel teaches us that anything that comes contrary to our physical, material or financial welfare is of the devil, and that we should rebuke it. But such teachings could not be further from the truth. The true gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that these contrary things try our faith. Our faith is so precious it has to be tried by fire. It will be tried and tried until it stands pure and unadulterated.
For this reason, therefore, we ought to rejoice with extreme joy, not just when things are going well in our lives; but even more so when they are not.
Have you ever suffered a little for the gospel’s sake and rejoiced for it? If you have, you are on the right track.
“2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
I have absolutely no doubt that patience is a virtue that most of us would give anything to have. From reading this scripture, it is clear that patience is a step away from Godly perfection. The man who can exhibit Godly restraint in the face of opposition is not far from being perfected in the Spirit (or they already are).
But did you ever stop to think about the cost of patience? The Bible gives it right there. The cost of patience, the Bible says, is joyfully accepting “divers temptations” in one’s life.
The call to salvation is no picnic. On the contrary, it is a call to deny ourselves and to take up our cross and follow Christ in His sufferings and death.
The ‘King’s Kids’ creed and the prosperity gospel that birthed it both belong to the garbage dump. Those are silly and childish beliefs and they will never work patience in anyone’s heart.
What does scripture mean by ” the trying of your faith worketh patience”?
Far from the popular belief that our faith is for claiming cars and private jets, scripture here makes it abundantly clear that our faith has been given to us in order that we may endure suffering. Our faith brings far more glorious blessings than the material blessings of this world. Yes, it is true that the trying of your faith could bring you a new car, money or any other material blessing. But that is a very small blessing.
The Bible tells us what the grand prize is when it comes to the trying of our faith. The Bible says it is… patience. Patience connotes suffering. But it is also a blessing of unspeakable magnitude. Why? Because it is eternal. As our faith is tried over and over in the fire of adversity, it grows stronger and stronger and it brings down bigger and bigger strongholds of the enemy. Like our pride. Or anger. Or fear.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Are we so soon there? Have we so soon arrived at perfection? Yes, we have. But… not just yet. Notice that we have to “let patience have her perfect work” in order for us to be perfected.
Becoming perfect is a result of a life that is ruled by patience. If you are the kind of believer who cannot be touched, you need to know that you are not letting patience have her perfect work in you. In other words, you are not allowing the cross in your life. But the cross is exactly what you need. You need to work at killing your ego or whatever it is that is preventing you from becoming patient.
And how, pray, do you go about working on that? It is by ‘letting’. We have to allow things into our lives; things that chafe at us. In other words, be happy when trials and temptations are chipping away at your anger, pride, etc.
When we have become perfectly patient, that is when perfection begins working in us. When we have been perfected in patience, then we are “perfect and entire, wanting nothing”.
Whew! what a work! But, again, what a goal!