I was reading Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost For His Highest this morning and I stumbled across a passage found in the context of James 1:2-8. The specific verse was James 1:4 and said “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”. It made me think of all the ways that I have been impatient and how that has impeded the progress of being made perfect and complete. I had to read the context.

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The NIV version translates patience as perseverance. So the testing of our faith develops patience. Yeah, sounds too difficult. And I’m sure most people just run away at this point. I did. I guess I overlooked the part where James says that perseverance must finish its work.

Patience must finish its work. Oswald Chambers wrote that God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And that he never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product. Through this process, God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right in our lives.

I feel that’s where the pure joy comes into play. I believe we spend our entire lives fighting against ourselves and others in many ways. We fight with our parents to be independent, we fight with our significant others to love us perfectly, we fight with ourselves against the innate desire to be entirely selfish. And it’s all in an effort to control the way we feel, fit in, or be accepted. But what if someone came along that guaranteed that you could be free of all of those things? Your only responsibility would be that you would have to make a conscious effort to give all of that control to one person in exchange for the promise of pure joy. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to get it all right, or that you won’t have to struggle with other circumstances in some way. It just means that you no longer have to focus on controlling aspects of your life that will neverbe in your control in the first place.What if all you had to focus on was the promise of being made perfect and complete through every trial and tribulation that you experienced instead of the constant worry associated with keeping yourself safe and emotionally in tact? Could we, as it says in Psalm 46:10 “be still, and know that I am God”?

The promise to be made perfect and complete, lacking nothing is on the table. And that’s where I will find my joy through all of the trials and hardships I will face, both currently and in the future. All we have to do, as James instructs, is believe.

That I’m being reshaped and constantly remade is where I find my patience and my joy.

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