And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:4
Explanation of the Text:The Epistle of James is a pleasing read because James transitions from one sentence to another in a very smooth manner, often utilizing the word in the previous sentence to connect it with the next. That pattern exists here between our previous study of James 1:2-3 and into the current study with the word endurance. He tells us that the testing of faith produces endurance and that endurance will result in one being made mature and complete.
Endurance indicates more than persevering through the trial, but remaining constant towards God. Regardless of the circumstances one may face, endurance indicates that one’s faith in God does not waver. The character of genuine faith is one that is stable regardless of any harsh or oppressive conditions that one may face.
Such endurance builds into the life of an individual causing them to be made mature and complete. Some versions read perfect and complete. The Greek word utilized here (τέλειος – telios) is a word best represented by the word mature. It’s meaning conveys completeness. Efficient Bible study will note repeated words and phrases, therefore it is important to note that James expresses completeness in three ways: mature, complete, and lacking nothing. Later on James notes that “we all stumble in many ways” (3:2) which leads to a reasonable conclusion that James is not referring to moral purity or sinlessness. Instead, believers will lack nothing in their pursuit of holiness as God provides for all their spiritual needs.
Examination & Application of the Text:Constancy towards God in the midst of trials is built upon a trust of Him. God is worthy of our trust because he has proven himself faithful throughout the course of history, always fulfilling what He has promised. Thus, when we read that the Lord utilizes circumstances for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28) we trust that to be the case, even in the midst of the intense trials that may come upon the lives of believers (James 1:2-3). It is reasonable to persevere in our relationship with the Lord because we trust that he will provide completely for our spiritual needs so that we may be made complete. So, in the midst of trials that will indeed come (see our last devotional of verses 2 & 3 by clicking here) we persevere in our relationship with God.
Questions to Consider:
Why is it important to note the words perfect, complete, and lacking nothing in this verse?
When James mentions that testing of the faith produces endurance, what does endurance refer to?
How is endurance lived out? How can it be lived out in your life specifically?