Below is a devotional that I jotted down for our Bible Study wall on Facebook. Sharing here for anyone interested.
Monday’s post: Let’s be Perfect
Last week I dug in to James 1:2-4 a bit, looking at the original writings. That helped me, as I think we get confused about what “perfect” means in Scripture. I think sometimes we assume that it means “sinless.” Here, in James 1, it means “mature in mental/moral character.” That’s very different than thinking we’ve achieved a level of sinlessness – like Christ. If we assume we have reached a level of sinlessness, we can just ask our families to clarify that, right? (wink). “Ahh…remember when you gossiped about the neighbor? Remember when you yelled at me? Remember when you cursed because you stubbed your toe?” “Oh…right.”
Here is what James 1:2-4 states:
James 1:2-4 | “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials (temptations) of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (patience). And let steadfastness (patience) have its full effect, that you may be perfect (mature in mental/moral character) and complete (entire/whole/perfectly sound), lacking in nothing.” (ESV)
This might also be written, then, in the following way:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet temptations of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its full effect, that you may be mature in mental/moral character and perfectly sound/whole, lacking in nothing.”
Basically: This patience that is produced through trials (temptations to yell, argue, react in anger, cheat, scheme, lie, deceive, control things – whatever the case may be) will render a strong moral and mental character that creates a wholeness inside us: so that we lack nothing, character-wise, to live for Christ.
I believe that the best way to grow this patience, inside us, is for us to lean on the strength of Christ. “Jesus: I cannot do this on my own. In my sinful nature I would be impatient, explosive, irritable, grumpy, mean, spiteful, ….. (insert your word here). However, with You living inside me I can call on Your strength to overcome. Please take my impatience and give me Your patience. Please take my anger and give me Your contentment. Please take my hate and give me Your love. Please take my irritability and give me Your gentle spirit. Please take my unclean thoughts and give me Your pure thoughts. Please build patience inside me as I lean on You to overcome the struggles of my heart: that I may be mature in mental/moral character, lacking nothing! Then I will be free from the things that bind me, able to serve You and to know the will of The Father, living by The Spirit of God. Amen.”