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 continues from “Count it all joy” with “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Brethren, you can be joyous going into a trial when you know this beforehand… “Trying of your faith..” – dokimion. This is the same word for sterling coinage. Sterling coinage = genuine money and unalloyed. This trying of our faith is to:
- Purge us of all impurity
- Burn out the dross of cursed human character
- Leave us cleansed and purified.
- Give unswerving constancy
This “trying” worketh “patience” – hupomone. Patience is our word here, and trials definitely do work our patience and eventually increase it. But “trying” truly does more. Hupomone is not simply patience or the ability to bear things. It is the ability to turn them into greatness and glory. If my entire life I thought all I could do is bear, I would be a pretty depressed Christian. Sure we have to bear some things, but we are not told to face these times depressed.
We are told to face them in joy! How?
By foreseeing that these times will become something of glory for God. During the times of the martyrs, one thing always bothered the heathen who did not understand their faith. They didn’t die crying, they died singing! On one occasion, a martyr was smiling while burning in the flames. When asked what he had to smile about he said, “I saw the glory of God, and was glad!”
Count it all joy…knowing this!
In the end, the Complete Reward is this:
It makes us perfect: Finished toward a given end for a given purpose. When patience has had its perfect work, we are ready for whatever God desired to use us for before the trial. As you enter each trial, know that how you handle it is either, fitting or unfitting for the work God has planned.
It makes us entire: Entire or Complete, finished. The word James uses here is the same use of sacrificial animals once inspected and prepared and ready to enter the ceremony. Also, in the same connotation, the priest after being cleansed and dressed is “entire”. The two have no blemish and anything that would cause God to turn away the offering. The trying of our faith, once complete, leaves us without the weaknesses and imperfections of our character God couldn’t use. It enables us to conquer old sins. To gain new virtues.
It leaves us wanting nothing: Deficient in nothing. Living day by day victoriously. Completely rewarded after facing a trial with Joy.
Pastor Chance Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN