Living Theology – Pathway to Maturity
James, throughout his book, exhorts believers to many works. In this verse, James is calling the believers to have joy in the midst of trials because the end result is perfection/maturity and competion/wholeness – which means no lack in any area of one’s life.
What I find intriguing about this verse is how James does not call us to work. He commands us to let steadfastness have its full effect/work. There’s something that works behind the scenes to strengthens us, and we are to let it work to its fullness.
This past Sunday, I shared an analogy on what I think this verse means. I relate it to my children and when I put them on my shoulders. When they’re young, they seem very nervous – grabbing my hair, ears or whatever else they can grab. After a little while, they may start to relax. At that moment, I will jump or do something to “shake things up.” As soon as I do that, they begin to grab my face because they’re scared. Then I say those important words, “Trust me. I’m holding you.”
We are like children. As James 1:1 makes clear, we have becomes slaves of God. We are on His shoulders now. He guides us. He walks along the path, and His goal is that we trust Him more because that is for what we were created! This passage teaches us that God desires for us to be perfect and whole, and this perfection and wholeness comes through a growing reliance on God. Therefore, God will even use the trials of life in order to strengthen our faith in Him.
So, remember to let endurance have its full work. Keep going because God won’t let go of you. The Apostle Paul puts it another way, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12b-13). We work ultimately because God is working in us for His good pleasure – continuing to rescue us because of Christ’s work.
Watch God work in you, be amazed at His work, and live out that work so others might see it! This is all a part of the pathway to maturity.