The Christian life can be very challenging. Due to the many obstacles and trials Christians encounter, we need to ―let perseverance (or patience) work.
James wrote the following about the need to let patience work: ―Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance/patience. Perseverance/patience must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Notice the statement: ―let perseverance/patience finish its work.”
James informs Christians that we need patience when facing various kinds of trials. ―Perseverance/patience‖ means ―endurance.‖ Christians may have to cope with the criticism of non-Christians, even fellow Christians, financial loss, family problems, failing health, and many other trials. Patience is the virtue needed in such times.
The passage teaches that Christians must ―let perseverance/patience finish its work.” If we do this, then we will be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This sounds appealing, so how do we let this patience work? First, consider that we do not let patience work when we hinder or interrupt the process of enduring trials. When facing challenges, we may feel tempted to panic. Sometimes people try to run from problems, and escape through drug abuse and alcohol. Others may turn to illicit relationships with the opposite sex to find comfort. However, turning to these things to escape problems only creates more problems.
What, then, is the solution? How does one allow ―let perseverance/patience finish its work‖? There are three basic things we can do to let patience work: 1) Do not try to squirm out of trials. Since trails present an opportunity to grow, we should face them. Rather than running from problems, the psalmist wrote: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). Just be still; 2) Trust that God will work things out in His own time. Trials will not last forever. Rather, than rushing God, we should be patient, listen, and learn lessons as life is happening (James 1:19); 3) We should pray that God would use this trial to make us stronger. Prayer is an act of submission, showing that the one praying relies on God (James 1:6-7).
By remaining calm, trusting God, and praying to God, one allows patience to work. After endurance/patience finishes her work, then one will be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So, in trials, let patience work! – Mark Lindley Chapman church of Christ Ripley, MS