The Cycle of Blessing – James Lesson 3


“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 1:3-4

The cycle of blessing begins with faith. Without faith one does not have the basis to be tried. It is the “trying of your faith” that begins the cycle of blessing. Without saving faith, your faith is not being tried, you are! The same is true with our spiritual progression.

What kind of faith are we talking about? It is not mere mental acceptance of a belief or doctrine, nor is it merely an emotional reaction to a message. One of the lessons of practical Christianity that James teaches us is that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Belief that does not cause one to obey the gospel and submit to the terms of salvation is not enough to get you to the starting line in the Christian race. It is not enough to simply give mental affirmation for our faith to benefit us spiritually. We must be willing to act on behalf of our faith.

The first step in the cycle of blessing is the trial of our faith, including the works it produces in our lives. “Divers temptations” – Different types of trials and testing. These trials are directed toward our faith, and what faith produces in our lives, or our works. When God moves you to respond by faith and you obey, that response will be challenged and tried. It is through the testing of our faith that patience is produced.

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:3

“…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:3 NIV

It is through the trial of faith that patience is developed. If you were never tried you would never learn the need nor have opportunity to develop patience. Patience must finish its work in us that we might be mature.

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV

“Only let your endurance be a finished product, so that you may be finished and complete, with never a defect.” Moffatt

Patience is the ability to hang in there and stick with God’s program as He works out the details in our life. God knows that going through the trial with the right attitude will cause spiritual maturity to be produced in you. For this reason, many times God prefers to deliver you through your trial instead of from your trial. There is a vast expanse of practical experience encompassed in the two prepositions of that last sentence. If God granted your request to deliver you from every trial, you would never reach spiritual maturity.

By the way, there are more ways that our faith is tried than we often realize.

    • There is the trial of waiting – when the answer is delayed.
    • There is the trial of wanting – when desire is postponed.
    • There is the trial of wondering – when understanding is empty.
    • There is the trial of walking – when direction is lacking.

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4

Joseph Parker uses the illustration of building a bridge to span a river. The river is 300 feet wide, and someone builds a bridge that is 290 feet long. How functional is a bridge that is 10 feet short? It doesn’t matter how much money and effort has been invested in the first 290 feet if the builder was not willing to see the job to completion.

How about the bridge you are building? Your life and how you live it builds a bridge between the things you have faith for and seeing those things realized. Will you stop 10 feet short? Without the patience that can be developed through the trail of faith, you will never be “perfect and entire.” There will always be something lacking.

Every book in the Bible carries at least one major theme. The Book of James is about practical religion; and not just religion, but also a relationship with the Lord that allows our faith to be expressed in our living.

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17

Is it a coincidence that the book of the Bible devoted to the practical expression of faith begins with an expose’ about trials? James says that believers should greet trials joyfully because they are the tools God uses to develop the character of Christ in us. Without trials we will never develop patience. Without patience we will be like a 290-foot bridge over a 300-foot chasm.

 

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