The Apostle James gives this advice in 1:4: “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

I don’t know about you, but this is one of my least favorite verses in the Bible. Not because I don’t believe it but, in fact, just the opposite. I do believe it, and that’s where the problem lies. I am not patient by nature and I am part of a culture that craves instant gratification. Our attention spans are so short that if we have to wait for one minute we become, at the least, bored and, at worst, depressed because we didn’t get what we wanted when we wanted it. We have even come up with very impressive sounding clinical diagnoses for a simple lack of self-control and disciplined behavior. We blame it on our personality type calling it “Type A” or “High D” when, in the end, what it boils down to is simple self-absorbtion and selfish behavior. We feel as if our time is more valuable than that of others, our schedule is of greater importance and our goals have greater significance.

Now you understand my dilemma. James makes it clear that learning to control these tendencies is the path to completeness, at least as far as God is concerned. Peter offers the same advice in his writing and concludes by saying until we learn this principle, we will be “ineffective and unproductive” (2 Peter 1:8) in living for Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want. I want my life to count. I want to live with significance. I want to bring honor to my Father by “bear(ing) much fruit… fruit that remains” (John 15:8, 16) and the key to that, as counterintuitive as it seems to the natural mind (Romans 8), is learning patience.


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