Thursday, November 25, 2021

James 1:4

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Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:4

The ultimate expression in any relationship is the love therein. Learning to love God is without question the key to enduring all the trials of life. The believer's love for God is not automatic. As with loving anyone or anything, loving God involves a process, and, it is this process that provides decisive evidence of the heart that has been made alive to Him. And, when we endure trials, we will grow in our appreciation and love for God. True faith sustained by true love perseveres in the midst of our trials.

Now, the true believer in the Lord is held by the Lord. This results in the believer also holding on to the Lord. We persevere in our trust in the Lord as we go through trials. That is to say, when we endure in our faith in the Lord through our trials, our faith is proved. Proven faith through the perseverance of our faith through trials gives validity to our love for the Lord.  Perseverance is the child of God holding tightly to his love and his faith. Our values determine our evaluations. When we can not rejoice in our trials, we discover our values are wrong. 

In the beginning of today's text we read, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature."

If we had a trial free life, it would be boring and without purpose. For example, a pearl forms when an irritant such as a wayward food particle becomes trapped in the mollusk. The animal senses the object and coats it with layers of aragonite and conchiolin. These two materials are the same substances the animal uses to build its shell.

In most pearls, the mineral aragonite is arranged in sheets of flat, six-sided crystals. Between each sheet, the mollusk secretes a very thin layer of the membrane-forming protein conchiolin. This composite material is called nacre or mother-of-pearl. The crystalline structure of nacre reflects light in a unique way, giving so-called nacreous pearls their high luster. The needlelike crystals of aragonite in these pearls are arranged perpendicularly or at an angle to the surface of the pearl.

Our verse today begins with the word "Let" which is a present active imperative. Essentially, James is saying, "Let God do His work." We must be submissive to God through the trial. We must not fight against God by resisting the insight the trial is trying to deliver. 

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read, "No trial has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  

Through our trials we are afforded the blessing of experiencing the joy of the Lord. His joy enables us to see the incredible future He has in store for us. His joy is the fuel to our perseverance. And, the more we persevere, the more we understand that God is allowing or causing the trial to create a greater perseverance in our faith for a greater usefulness for His glory.

In today's verse, James wrote, "Let perseverance finish its work."  The word "finish" here is better translated "bring to maturity." When we resist the work God wants to accomplish in our lives, we deny the spiritual maturity He wants to grant us at that time. Embracing God through any trial is most difficult.

Now, perseverance is not the goal, being mature in depending upon God is the goal. Actually, the goal is becoming more mature in our relationship with God, and this happens on the heels of learning to depend upon Him more and more. In Galatians 4:19 we read, "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." God's ultimate spiritual goal in the life of the believer is that Christ is fully formed in us. His goal is that we become so dependent upon Him that He is revealed through our yielded lives.

Again, our text for today reads, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete."  

Here, James reveals what he means by maturity. The Greek word translated "complete" is holokleros. We get our English word, holography, from this Greek word. A holography is a 360 degree picture. It's a complete picture. Trials enable us to see God more completely rendering for us a more complete ability to depend upon and trust Him more.

The last phrase of today's verse reads, "not lacking anything.At the root of our sin is our lack. It is our lack that gives way to covetousness. Most intriguing is that the tenth commandment is, "Thou shalt not covet." At the root of all of our sin is our desire for that which we do not have. Due to the fact that we lack explains why man looks to others things instead of God for fulfillment. And, in the end, it all comes down to what we value. 

Oddly, the only way we consider trials to be a great joy is if we want God in all His glory more than we want anything else. And, if we want those other things more than we want God, to that degree we will be unable to consider the trial a great joy and fully embrace Him through the trial. This call to maturity is a call to slavery to God. This is why James begins his book by describing himself as a "doulos," a bond servant. At the end of it all is God giving Himself to us in a way that we truly get Him. 

You will remember our sanctification is the process whereby God changes our souls which are made up of our minds, wills and emotions. Sanctification is God changing how we think, choose and feel. Paul Tripp who once said, "God will take you where you would not go to produce in you what you could not accomplish."