by Amy Hyles
“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.” James 1:2-4
While I was growing up, I often heard people joke about praying for patience. “Don’t pray for patience! God will give you trials if you do.” The more I heard this—the more I listened to people warn other Christians not to pray for patience—the more I realized there is a problem in the church. We want patience, we want growth in Christ, but we are unwilling to endure the process of growing patience. We are unwilling to suffer for a season in order to be perfected in Christ.
This is a serious problem. I believe most Christians desire perfection and completion in Christ. I believe that deep within our souls, most of us long to have hearts pure before our God and lives fashioned in the image of our Savior. But so few are willing to pay the price for perfection. We want patience, but we do not want the trials that develop it. We are unwilling to lay our possessions, our loved ones, our dreams, our desires at the foot of the cross that we might be made more like Jesus. We want our will, not God’s.
Let patience have her perfect work.
Not one of us wants to experience trials. Not one of us desires difficulties, persecution, or loss. But if we are to be perfected and conformed into the image of our Savior, we must let patience work, which means we must let trials come into our lives. We must let God test us. We must let God purge us. We must let God search us and know our hearts. We must let him try us and know our thoughts. We must let him mold us into the people he created us to be.
Most of humanity resists trials. We resist heartache. We resist loss. We resist burdens, conflict, difficulties. We resist anything that threatens our will. But if we are going to allow patience to work, we must allow temptation. We must allow God to work his will—even at the expense of our own.
Let patience work around you.
Most of us are experiencing trials we did not allow—we did not invite them into our lives nor do we welcome them. But God has allowed them—and we must accept them. Joseph did not want to be thrown into the pit, sold into slavery, or cast into prison. But he accepted what God had allowed in his life—and God raised him to be second in power only to Pharoah. If you want to grow in Christ, if you want to be perfected and completed, you must allow patience to work in your circumstances.
Let patience work in you.
Letting temptation come is only the first step. Once it comes, you have to let patience work in you. The purpose of temptation is not to change your surroundings, but to change you. God works around you, so he can work in you. He wants to change your heart. He wants to cleanse your spirit. He wants to purge your thoughts. He wants to correct your motivations. He wants to conform you to the image of his Son—not the physical image (which we will attain until we are given our new bodies in heaven), but the spiritual image. He wants to mold your heart after his own. But he can only do so through trials. And he can only do so if you surrender your will to his.
When God allows trials in your life, determine to learn from them. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart, open your eyes, and teach you. Seek to learn and grow from every experience.
Let patience work through you.
God works around you to work in you. He works in you to work through you. God has a purpose for your life. But the only way you can fulfill that purpose is to let patience have her perfect work.
The best way to overcome any temptation is to have a purpose awaiting you at the end of it. If you determine that you will use every experience to learn and grow so that you can help others, you will be more likely to succeed. You will have purpose, determination, resolve, to endure and overcome.
Let patience have her perfect work.
When I was a young teenager, my deepest desire in life was to do the will of God and to have a heart that desired what he desired. But I knew that doing God’s will and desiring God’s heart would require the sacrifice of my own. I surrendered, I committed, my will to God, knowing that I would have to lose my will in order to gain his. But I wanted his more. And I did lose my will. Over and over again, God took from me what I loved best. He led me where I did not want to go. He thwarted my plans. He shattered my dreams. He pulled the ground out from beneath my feet until I had nothing left to stand on but him. And you know what I discovered? When we lose all and let patience work, we gain all—for if we let patience have her perfect work, we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Losing all is difficult. Losing our will is perhaps the greatest test we will ever experience. But gaining Christ is greater. I would rather lose everything and gain Christ than to keep all and lose him. I would rather lose all and be made like him than keep all and remain who I am. Let patience have her perfect work. The next time someone tells you not to pray for patience, take a moment to evaluate your heart—are you willing to lose all that you may win Christ?
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…”
by Amy Hyles
Original article can be found at http://amyhyles.com/2012/09/19/let-patience-have-her-perfect-work/