In our series, Overcome, we’ve discovered how the spiritual force of joy is released in our lives when we make a deliberate decision to keep our minds focused on what the Word says our outcome will be.
According to James 1:3, facing trials this way will produce the excellent qualities of endurance, steadfastness, and patience. Today, I want to show you just how powerful the spiritual force of patience is!
Apparently, in the early church times, patience was known as the “Queen of all virtues” amongst believers. That’s because they were often faced with the most horrific persecution for their faith. Being burned alive, hunted down, badly beaten, and thrown to the lions for public entertainment is far more than any human can think to endure.
Yet, these believers, when faced with this kind of stress and pressure, had come to understand how to shift their minds onto the truth of Who their God was, and His promises concerning them. Their faith, even in the face of death, proved to be so strong, that the peace and joy of the Lord was more real to them than any horror they had to endure.
We may never have to face the dangers and trials they had to face, but the principle rings true for us, just as much as it did for them. When we keep our eyes focused on the Lord and His promise to never leave us, but instead, produce extremely powerful qualities in us, while our faith is being tested - the spiritual force of patience goes to work.
Patience is a force that undergirds our faith and holds us strong under the heaviest of loads. It resolves to never lose hope or sight of God’s Word and it refuses to be moved on what it believes to be true.
James 1:4 says we are to, “...let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Patience goes to work to undergird our faith when we choose to keep our focus on God’s Word no matter what. It’s rock solid and anchors us securely in our faith.
So let’s recap, and summaries what we’ve learnt about James’s strategy to overcome:
Even before trouble comes, we must choose to have an attitude of joy. What are we joyful about? We are joyful because we understand and are completely convinced that whatever we go through is never going to be greater than our God (Who is on us), or our faith in His Word. We are also joyful because we are convinced that our faith will be tested, and proven; and we are going to come through as those who powerfully overcome!
With this predetermined resolve, patience is released to do her work in us. Patience rises from our spirits and begins its work from the top - in our thoughts, and works it’s way right down throughout our beings. It pulls on that spiritual force of joy, and together they divinely energise us - spirit, soul, and body, infusing us with powerful, inner strength.
This is where God joins Himself with us, working His supernatural power in us. A power that produces exactly what James 1:4 says, “...that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Now, with this kind of power going on inside us, we are finally able to enter that place of peace and rest. Where we are in soul harmony with God, and are ready to hear His voice, and see His perspective on whatever we are facing.
Paul knew all about this place of rest in the toughest of circumstances, Jesus did too, and both men, by the power of the Spirit working in them, were able to victoriously overcome all they were faced with.
When James said that patience would make us perfect, he was saying that at the end of the trial, we would not be found broken, or unhinged, but rather, our character would be fully intact. Because we had refused to give up believing in the goodness and faithfulness of God, and the dependency of His Word, we would finally attain what we were promised.
The word complete speaks about a stage of spiritual maturity and muscle, or staying power. Where we are able to endure anything because we we posses every part of our inheritance in Christ. What is that inheritance? It’s the kingdom of God in us. Where we have a personal revelation of what it is to be the righteousness of God, to stand for what is right, pure and true without compromise, when it’s extremely unpopular to do so. It’s when we personally experience His peace that passes all understanding, when there is chaos and turmoil all around us. And it’s where we have learnt how to experience His unsinkable, unquenchable joy, that infuses us with powerful inner strength to endure until the end.
Lastly, Paul says that patience will cause us to lack, or want nothing. We will know no deficiency of any kind, because we have learnt how to enter that place of rest, where the Lord is our portion. Where we are not moved because His Word has the final say, and our faith is mature and strong enough to believe Him for every need.
In the next letter, we’re going to learn how we can practically enter that place of rest to be in soul harmony with God. Where patience does its best work in us, so we can be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing.
Until then, determine to keep your eyes focused on the Lord and His promise to never leave you. You can trust Him to produce extremely powerful qualities in you, while your faith is being tested. So hold on, keep your head up and let patience go to work.
All my love,