Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
At the beginning of my gardening journey, I’d wake up early and run to my vegetable garden to see if anything had sprouted. Nothing. After an internet search for “fast garden growth,” I learned that the seedling stage is the most important phase of a plant’s lifespan. Knowing now that this process couldn’t be rushed, I came to appreciate the strength of small sprouts fighting their way through the soil toward the sun and their resilience to temperamental weather. After waiting patiently for a few weeks, I was finally greeted by bursts of green sprouts creeping through the soil.
Sometimes it’s easy to praise the victories and triumphs in our lives without similarly acknowledging that growth in our character often comes through time and struggle. James instructs us to “consider it pure joy” when we “face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). But what could possibly be delightful about trials?
God will sometimes allow us to go through challenges and hardships so that we can be molded into who He’s called us to be. He waits in anticipation for us to come out of the trials of life “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4). By staying grounded in Jesus, we can persevere through any challenge, growing stronger and ultimately allowing the fruit of the Spirit to blossom in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). His wisdom gives us the nourishment we need to truly flourish each and every day (John 15:5).
What trials have you been working through recently? What lessons are these circumstances revealing to you?
Dear heavenly Father, sometimes the trials I face seem unbearable. Please give me the strength to persevere, and help me as I grow in faith and develop into the fruit-bearing believer that You’ve called me to be.
The letter of James emphasizes the calling of believers in Jesus to grow in wisdom, uniting Jesus’ teachings and other wisdom teachings in Scripture to paint a picture of living wisely and faithfully. The Greek word teleios, translated “mature” in verse 4, is a key word in the book of James (also vv. 17, 25; 3:2). It’s a word that in the original language emphasizes wholeness and integrity. To be “mature” is to live a life in which our daily actions flow harmoniously from our beliefs. Conversely, to live foolishly, in ways that are inconsistent with what we say we believe, is to live a fractured and divided life. Throughout his letter, James draws attention to any behavior that stands in stark contrast to what true faith in Christ demands, urging believers to reject any such inconsistencies for the wholeness found in Jesus.