JAMES 1:2-4: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I letting endurance do its perfect work in my life? The word translated endurance is translated as patience in other versions. We are more familiar with the word patience in this text, but the concept of endurance is more accurate to the meaning of the Greek. In fact the word could be translated – “cheerful or hopeful endurance.”
When I look back at the trials I have gone through in my life, I find that I have not always allowed endurance to do its perfect work. In fact, this is where I usually found myself struggling and failing. I am a results oriented person. If nothing is happening, I will make it happen. In my bi-vocation of marketing and sales this is a worthy attribute. However, in my walk with Jesus Christ, it is not.
The trials of life are not always hardships. Many times a trial can simply be the call to wait upon the Lord. If you are a person who normally takes charge, it may be harder to wait upon the Lord than it would be to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Waiting is the key component of endurance. It is the call to persevere and trust the Lord. And as we wait, it is the call to seek the Lord for wisdom to know when it is right to take the next step.
I think this is why James couples the call to endure with the admonition to ask God for wisdom. None of us likes to wait, but we are all called to wait upon the Lord. As we wait, when we don’t know what to do, we can call upon the Lord for wisdom. If we ask for this in faith, He will be faithful to give us wisdom, and He will never chastise us for coming to Him over and over again. However, if we are double-minded, we cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Just as James’ call to seek God’s wisdom walks hand in hand with the call to endurance, so also does his call to faith. Faith stands in direct opposition to being double-minded. Faith positions itself in trust and rests in the Lord. Double-mindedness says the same thing as faith with the mouth, but then pursues its own course. Double-mindedness proclaims that I am waiting upon the Lord, all the while scheming on how I can move His timetable ahead by my own efforts.
An interesting example of this is found in Jeremiah 42-43. In these two chapters we read the account of the remnant of Judah who had been left in Jerusalem after the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar. They came to Jeremiah to inquire the word of the Lord. They boldly declared that whatever the Lord said, they would do! They wanted to flee to Egypt, but the word of the Lord said to stay put in Jerusalem (endurance). What did they do? Their mouth’s said they would obey, but their actions betrayed their double-mindedness. They rejected the word of the Lord and went to Egypt anyway.
How many times have I rushed back to Egypt when the Lord has called me to tarry in Jerusalem? In the lives of the remnant of Judah this choice did not prove to be a good one. They could have prospered in Jerusalem if they had waited upon the Lord, but they died in Egypt. They did not let endurance complete her perfect work.
Today I am faced with a choice. Will I consider my present difficulties and trials a joy in the Lord? Will I embrace them as an opportunity to learn to walk in faith? Will I refuse to rush ahead and seek the Lord’s wisdom each step of the way? Will I allow endurance to have its perfect work in my life? God has given me His Word, Wisdom, and the gift of faith so that I can choose wisely.
Lord, help me to choose wisely. Help me to choose the pathway of endurance.
In Jesus Name!