James 1:4 "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
In that scripture text there are two words that do not seem to fit together; Perfect and Patience. It would seem that life itself is in direct contradiction to any thought of attaining either one to any degree. We can agree that life is full of promise and potential, but not perfection. As we live we see stress and problems in abundance, but we do not see patience in any quantity. The truth is that with all that is going on in our lives we don’t think we have time to develop perfection. We have rewired ourselves to accept something less and as far as patience is concerned, it left some time ago after someone stepped on our last nerve.
But the Bible still says in Hebrews 6:1 "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,". If there is any place that we want to be perfect it is in our position with Christ, but how can we fit that into our imperfect lives? It seems that in many instances we are always starting over “for the weight and sin that so easily besets us” and by the time another church service has renewed us again, it’s over. We must then step back into our imperfect lives and once again deal with our stepped on nerves and our flawed existences.
Ephesians 4:11-12 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ"
The ministry and God do their job and we are brought to where we need to be, but then the church service is over and we are faced with a deep question. How can we stay in this place that God has brought us to?
James 1:3-4 "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Trying, tribulation, tests: These things do not sound palatable to the fleshly man, but they are God's way to bring us to perfection.
1 Peter 5:6-10 "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
God has a way of bringing us to perfection, but we have to be willing to stay in the process and let it happen. It won’t always be pleasant. It won’t always appease the flesh. It won’t always seem right to our way of thinking, but it’s God’s way and it's the only way it will ever work.
May God help us as we strive towards perfection,
I Peter 5:10 "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
We have this strange tendency to want everything to be easy. We start a project and the least little thing that goes wrong (and it always does) we get aggravated and can't believe how bad our life is. We just want everything to fall in place and nothing to ever be out of sorts. I pray I'm not ruining it for anyone, but NO ONE ever gets everything to go just right. There are always unexpected things that happen and there are always "testy" things that will transpire throughout the course of our daily lives.
If everything was easy then nothing would have value. It is through the testing and trials of things that you and I place a certain worth upon it. The more we've had to sacrifice and give to achieve or acquire something makes it more valuable than things that required no work, no sweat, and no stress.
Still, the wording that Peter used in my opening text may seem harsh and asking too much of you and I. He wrote "after you have suffered a while". We might be saying "this is more than I signed up for" or "this is outside the bounds of what it needs to be", but let's consider the uncomfortable word in the writing. Suffered in this text means, to experience a sensation or impression. The best way to understand this text is to see that when you and I get to the point that something changes in the way we see the kingdom of God is when the work of God begins.
We cannot see the kingdom of God as something that we are on the outside of, but we must understand that our Christian lives are part of the kingdom of God. If we succeed, the kingdom of God succeeds, but if we fail, I think we know the end of that. Granted, we do not always understand the "process" of God, but when it is allowed to play out, it always yields great dividends to us and to those we are/will influence for Christ. Don't just take the easy, unlabored for things that just come your way. Be willing to "pay" for the things that will be a manifest blessing to your life and the lives of others.
It will be worth it all!