“…the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, [lacking] nothing…” (James 1:3-4), meaning that everything is now complete. Our patience needs an opportunity to be tried to the limit in order to carry out its perfect work. We should want to be faithful to what we have committed to in our soul, but we should also be faithful to carry out these desires, to show what their real aim and value are. Everything we do should be done “…according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Then, after we’ve patiently held out until our trials have come to an end, we’ll find that we’ve become perfectly holy and contented.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Do you “lack wisdom”? Wherever you do is the area where you are the most liable to fail at being “perfect and entire,” or whole in every part. The Lord sends these trying situations in order that, by discipline, you can be made perfect. If you endure to the end, you’ll experience the perfection of glory and happiness so that you “may be perfect and entire.” Then the character of your whole life can be without defect. Therefore, you need to bear all things God sends your way, without flinching or breaking, until they have had a chance to strengthen and purify you.
Whatever you say and whatever you do, let the talking and doing be done by your patience. Once it has done its work, all you need for your Christian walk and warfare will be supplied to you. You may feel weak and foolish when you go through discouraging times. But even if you are required to go through great trials, it doesn’t mean God is not pleased with you. Don’t pray for God to take away whatever is afflicting you—pray for Him to show you the right way to make use of it. We all need wisdom to lead us during trials so that we can bring order to our spirit and to direct all of our activities.
Do you claim to have faith in God? Then your claim will be tested sooner or later. Yet how often our courage fails and we become dejected—even the very hour we are tempted! Realize that this is the moment you should be looking confidently to our heavenly Father, knowing that He’s carrying out some purpose in you He couldn’t work out any other way. The Bible tells us “to count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations [many trials]” (James 1:2). The tempting referred to here is not in relation to sin—it’s a test of our faith in God, like when He “tempted” Abraham.
We know that “the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3), yet our nature is to worry and lack patience! Sometimes we rebel against God’s way (even though we are His children) because we prefer to follow what we desire, not what He desires. But if we’ll just learn to submit to whatever He allows to come our way, we’ll ultimately bring Him glory. Then, when we finally reach the point where we stop demanding what God has chosen to keep from us, we’ll know we’re on our way to maturing and becoming whole. We’ll have victory, even though the wisdom we needed for it had to come from our heavenly Father. And He is only too eager to give it to us—if we’ll simply pray and ask Him to.
Therefore, when you are going through trying times, make sure it’s your patience that is at work, not your enthusiasm. Never allow your spirit to be in opposition to God’s will. If you will show patience during trials, it will have an important influence on your soul. And when you are afflicted, let’s hope your experience will have the desired effect on your mind or soul to achieve what God is helping you to accomplish.
The whole goal of being patient is to be made “perfect and entire,” so we can grow in the grace of patience along with the other graces of God. Then we will be able to reflect Christ, the One whose image we are being conformed to. Once we have developed our patience to the point that we don’t rebel against God’s will, we will be capable of developing strong Christ-like character. This makes it possible for us to become complete in both body and soul, which is what we will be as saints of God after we go to be with Him in the Rapture.
But God’s work in us won’t be perfect until our soul no longer allows attacks of the enemy to disturb us. When we patiently trust in God, we gain conscious strength so that we are able to say: “My soul hath followed hard after Thee; Thy right hand [upholds] me” (Psalm 63:8). Once we have learned to possess this patient trust in our soul, God’s perfect work in us will be successful, and it will be our full reward from Him.
Has the teaching God has been giving you about patience done its perfect work in you yet? If it has, you are becoming His perfect, complete work. Patience needs an opportunity to be tested to the limit in order to perform its perfect work. And those who patiently continue to the end are the ones who will be saved. Therefore, keep on being faithful to God and He will reward your patience!