We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

James 1: Enduring Perfection

If I told you that God required perfection in order to enjoy His blessings, what would you think? If you are anything like me, perfection is not going to happen in this lifetime–my wife will attest to this. But in Matthew 5, Jesus teaches that we are to be perfect, just as His Father in heaven is perfect. How can this be?

Convinced that there must be an explanation, I began to study this word perfect. Translating James 1 from the Greek, we read:

Knowing this, that the testing of your faith produces hopeful endurance. But let hopeful endurance have its perfect (τελειος) work, that ye may be perfect (τελειος) and entire, lacking nothing.

Perfection (te’-la-os) in this Greek sense is the end result of enduring hardships and trials. It is through this process of refinement that our mental and moral character is developed. One’s mental and moral character then lays the foundation from which anything else is possible. You can reach for the stars; there are no limits to what you can accomplish. It is a time when you lack nothing.

But prior to this “perfect” life where nothing is lacking, you must endure–or better translated, cheerfully and hopefully endure. What prepares us most are life’s tests and challenges. Our mental and moral character develops when we cheerfully endure, with a secure hope, and beyond any doubt know that God has our best interest in mind.

I don’t enjoy trials, especially marital or relational trials. But these are the trials that change my character. To lack nothing in our careers and relationships is going to require a hopeful, enduring perfection. So where do you find yourself today? Hanging by a thread of hope? Maybe you feel as if that thread has already frayed beyond the point of redemption. Don’t give up! Hang on to that tread of grace–God will indeed make you perfect and entire, so that you will one day lack nothing.

Published in: on September 10, 2011 at 4:21 am  Leave a Comment