Tuesday, June 24, 2008

James 1:4

I have decided to continue yesterday’s theme for at least a little while by visiting some chapters I have written about previously and focusing on a verse or two. I feel in this way I can provide a real in depth discussion of some ideas on a very base level of Scripture. Each verse, sometimes each word in the Bible can be a good topic of discussion, so today I wanted to look at one of my favorite verses, one that is written on my heart and one of the few that is committed to memory.

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

To me this speaks volumes about both what can do, and how I can fall short of what God has planned for me. First, let’s look at what God can do because of this promise.

Obviously, God wants us to be mature and complete Christians. When we are, we can then accomplish wonderful things for His kingdom. This is not something we attain instantaneously. It comes after years of walking in faith with God. This is where the factor of perseverance comes in. We can only hope to maintain maturity by working each day toward it.

I am reminded of when I was eight years old and began playing organized baseball for the first time. I had watched games since before I could remember with my grandfather, so I thought I could simply emulate players I had seen like Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg and achieve success. I quickly grew frustrated that year when I couldn’t instantly hit the ball every time I stepped into the box. Even making contact on a ball thrown by a pitching machine was difficult at first. It wasn’t until the fourth game of the season that I made enough contact to reach base for the first time, finally doing so on a bunt.

Once I did make contact, however, I saw how I did and remembered. My second year I was able to get on base by actually swinging and hitting the ball instead of turning around to bunt and waiting for the ball to hit my bat. I only had five hits that second year, but I was doing it by swinging, a sign of maturity, instead of bunting. By my third year I was hitting singles with regularity. By my fourth year I had matured into an even better hitter. Not only did I have more confidence and power in my swing, routinely getting extra base hits, but I had the maturity to know when not to swing for power. As the leader of my team, I was given the rare pass to bunt when I felt like it, and I did so in several situations where the infield was back and I could get an easy base hit.

This is what our Christian walk is like. We gain maturity by perseverance and learning, even though at times it can be highly frustrating. We, therefore, can fall short if we don’t have the patience to gain that maturity. This is something I am still guilty of. Lately, every day seems like a struggle to find that place in my heart where there is peace in my walk with Christ. Part of this comes from the imperfection of being human, but another part of me comes from a lack of perseverance. I believe in life long learning. If you quit learning things, you might as well lay down and die. I think we must strive each day to learn, whether it is skills for this life or the next. When we learn, we grow, and the only way we can grow to the point where we lack nothing, as this verse suggests, is to grow in Christ daily. Lately I have been guilty of not doing this.


1. How do you define persevereance?
2. How do you define maturity?
3. How does one relate to the other?

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