“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1.2-4
Please note that James is writing to believers. These words are not intended for unbelievers. V. 2: “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations …” Why would James ask us to “count it all joy” when temptations come? His answer in v. 3 is vital: “Knowing this …” If we can back up for a moment and look at the big picture here, all of us recognize that life is filled with temptations (perhaps a better word is trials). The issue is not IF they come, but WHEN they come. So knowing that trials will come, James’ counsel to us is this: “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Again we can substitute the word steadfastness for patience. I don’t know about you, but I want to BE steadfast in my Christian walk.
It doesn’t take any effort to be weak, wishy-washy, or uncertain. It does take steadfastness to follow the path God designs for us. I have discovered that this is a decision that I must make EVERY DAY. A once-for-all decision won’t work. It needs to be a fresh one every day. I think that is what James means in v. 4 when he says: “let patience have her perfect work …” Once we put patience in charge, our perspective changes, our focus changes, and the results that come in life change also.
Now to wrap the whole idea up, James concludes: “that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” The word “perfect” here does not mean without sin, but it means spiritually mature. I believe all of us want to spiritually mature. That being the case, we need to heed James’ counsel in these verses and become “perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Just my thoughts …