“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
What is it that makes temptations or trials bearable? One thing is knowing that God has a purpose for our problems and that they will be used in some way for good. For instance, our text tells us that the trying of our faith “worketh patience.” When our faith is tried, patience is produced. Another word for patience is endurance. Our difficulties are from the factory where patience, or endurance, is manufactured. God is using our trials to develop endurance in our lives. It helps us when we are going through those times of testing to know that it is not in vain. Our trials can make us better, stronger Christians and will thus allow occasions for God to be glorified. James therefore tells us to “let patience have her perfect work” (4).
We have a role and responsibility in this process. We cannot choose our trials, but we can choose to allow our trials to produce the character in us that God desires and that we need. The implication is that it is possible that we might not let our trials complete their work in us. We know this can certainly be true. Sometimes, instead of letting our trials complete the work in us that they are designed to produce, we try to get out from under the pressure of the difficulties. One reason we lose faith in the midst of our tests is that we forget God is in control, the tests are not permanent, and they will help us become what God wants us to be. We need all that our trials can produce in us. James says, “that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
There are qualities that we need in our lives that are not presently there. One of the ways that God will produce those things in us is through the furnace of affliction. In particular, we need patience, or endurance, in our lives. We do not know all that the future holds. How can we know that we will be able to endure? As we go through trials, God is weaving endurance into the fabric of our character. When we get to the next difficulty, the character he has developed in us helps us endure. As we endure that trial, more endurance is produced in us. God knows what He is doing, and He knows what we need. We need to let patience work.