Friday, December 12, 2014

It Takes Patience to be Perfect

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various) temptations (trials or testings); knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh (achieves) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting (lacking) nothing." James 1:2-4 KJV

Patience. It comes to mind when I'm going through a difficult time. When Trenton goes through a round of sickness or migraines as he has been recently, patience is probably my weakest trait during these times. I get tired and grumpy. I just want the period of illness to end quickly. So how does a trial bring patience to our lives, when all we want is to get through it?

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

That is not how God feels about trials. He says that going through trials over and over will ultimately achieve steadfastness or patience. The irony here is that it takes steadfastness to make it through a trial. It takes steadfastness in trusting that God is in control and that He is creating an ultimate outcome that is little by little forming into us being patient or steadfast first, and after this, perfect, entire, and lacking in nothing in our spiritual life. Maybe that is how it produces patience  - by our constant practice at becoming more patient. Unfortunately, here on earth we will never reach that perfect and entire state of lacking nothing spiritually. We will always have things that we need to work on.

Does this mean that our life will be filled with constant trials? I suppose that is really up to how quickly we learn patience to the degree He wants us to learn it, so that we can learn everything else. In this passage, it seems that patience is the beginning. Without patience, we will always lack something spiritually. Without trials we will never gain the patience to grow to be like Christ.

So what about the people who seem to have it all together? What about the ones who have the perfect job, family, and home? Have they reached this ultimate level of patience so that they need never encounter a trial? Obviously that is probably not the case.

Something to remember is that the definition of trials in James can vary. Some people have trials of sinful temptation rather than a trial of health. Some trials are personal and cannot be shared. We have no idea what the people who seemingly have it all together might be going through. If you are a Christian, then it seems to imply that falling into various trials or temptations is a given.

It seems to me that the passage is telling us that it takes patience to be patient, and it takes patience to ultimately be perfect.

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