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James on Trial

Help Understanding Hardships

I Need Patience

Written By: Ray - Sep• 15•09

Sometimes, I just need to “cool it” – to take a “chill pill” and calm down. Even a simple task like going to the store can develop a state of agitation in most of us. People fight over a parking space, then grab the buggie that you were about to take, they will run over you in the aisle and break line at the checkout! The cashier is totally inept and rash. Then there is a traffic jam and you cannot even get out of the parking lot. And when you get home and realize that you left your most important purchase in the buggie. Life is frustrating and sometimes I feel like calling out, “Lord, I need patience – and I need it RIGHT NOW!

In the book of James, God seems to be telling us to trust that “whenever you face trials of many kinds” remember that He is working behind the scenes to bring about something truly good in us. We are told that we can “count it all joy… BECAUSE… the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:3). Perseverance is another word for patience and the two words are interchangeable in the Book of James and in our discussions.

Patience is a trait that is in short supply today. More common in our language are phrases like “Road rage” or “going postal.” Our society is fast-paced and instant-oriented. People become enraged when another driver pulls out in front of them and causes them to go a couple miles per hour slower than they want to go. They place their own lives – and the lives of many others – in jeopardy just to pass and “get to the front of the pack” so that they can arrive at their destination a few seconds quicker. It is as if they do not even know about patience.

Having been raised in a fast food, quick checkout, no wait society, people today no longer see patience as a desirable quality. I once worked in an organization where one of the core values was to “have a sense of urgency” about our work. That concept carries over into everything that goes on today. No one wants to wait on anything. Even in the Christian community.

Although Christians may SAY that they want to be patient, many assume that they only need to ask God for it. They believe that God will just drop patience into their lives without any struggle or effort on their part. That just is not Scriptural. Romans 5:3 tells us to “rejoice in our sufferings, BECAUSE we know…” (Did you notice? That is the exact phrase which is used in James 1:3, “because you know”? It may be that we have no JOY because we have no KNOWLEDGE of the Word of God.) Let me get back to the verse, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” Perseverance (patience) is produced by suffering!

Patience does not come as a result of God waving a “magic wand” over our heads. There is no “heavenly patience dust” that will fall on us and instantly calm us down from this fast-paced life. Patience comes as a result of our victoriously overcoming the hardships that we face in this life (the trial of our faith). We can rejoice in the heat of that battle because we know that “When the battle’s over, we shall wear a crown.”

James (verses 1:2 & 3) tells us that we should “consider it pure joy… whenever [we] face trials of many kinds, because [we] know that the testing of [our] faith develops perseverance.” If we KNOW that the trial of our faith has a divine purpose, then we can have joy in that trial. Not only will we have joy in our trials but James says that in the end (after we have acquired perseverance), we will be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Let me summarize this journey: The real goal is to be mature and complete. We become mature as a result of the work of patience. It takes TIME to get there. Working back, we see that patience is developed through the trial of our faith. If we KNOW that, it will enable us to have “overcoming joy in trials” – which is the theme of the Book of James.

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