|“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are
scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
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 1:1-4).
This morning we continue our study on the keys for Christian living. We have already looked
at four of these keys, the key of peace, the key of prayer, and the key of praise. Now this
morning we want to look at the key of patience.
The word patience means “The ability to endure hardship and inconvenience without
complaint.” This is a quality that we all need as we live the Christian life. Patience is a virtue
that has to be developed as we live day by day. As we live and face the trials and tribulations
of life, we learn to be patient, and this strengthens us to be strong spiritual Christians.
In our text, James tells us that the trying of our faith works patience. We face different kinds
of trials from time to time. There are the trials of sickness, sorrow and persecutions. When we
face these things we are to count it a joy to go through these things. Now Beloved, I realize
that this is hard to do. It’s hard to count something a joy when it is bringing grief and sorrow to
our hearts. But the Bible says here in James chapter one, and verse two, "My brethren, count
it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." This means that we are not to consider these
trials as punishment or judgment upon us. But we are to consider them as a joy, because they
are going to turn out to be a blessing to us.
These trials are trials of our faith. We, as the children of God are to live by faith. In order for
faith to be strong, it must be tested. As a matter of fact, faith by its very nature has to be tested
and tried in order to grow. As our faith grows, the more patient we become; that is, we are
able to endure the hardships and trials of life without complaining. We learn to trust in God to
lead and guide us through all things that we face. This brings glory to God, and peace to our
In verse four James tells us to let patience have her perfect work. He is instructing us to let
patience produce its fruit; that is, her work without being hindered. We are not to hinder the
influence patience works in our heart. Beloved, there are many things that hinder patience
from influencing our hearts. Such things as murmuring, complaining and rebellion. You see,
God has designed patience to produce necessary virtues and graces in our souls in order for us
to mature in the Christian faith, and to be able to be good servants for the Lord. When
patience has her perfect work in our hearts, it brings us into full maturity in the Christian life.
Now notice here again in verse four, it says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye
may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” You see, when patience has her perfect work,
there will be nothing lacking in developing our Christian character.
Now we may have within us the elements of good character, and good sound Biblical
principles, but the good character and sound principles may not be seen until they are under
some kind of a trial or test. When we are faced with affliction, then what is within us comes
out. Affliction, probably more than anything else, will bring out our character and inner
principles, so that we may see what we really are. As we let patience do her work in us under
these trials and afflictions, it will cause us to become more like Christ, stronger in our faith, and
a more effective servant for the Lord. So when our faith is tested, it produces patience.
Another thing that produces patience is found in (Romans 5:3-4). “And not only so, but we
glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience,
experience; and experience, hope:” You see, James told us to count it all joy when we fall
into divers temptations; that is, the trials of our faith. And here the apostle Paul tells us that we
are to glory in our tribulations also, knowing that tribulations work patience. Here we see that
we will face all kinds of trials and tribulations as we walk through this life. But we know that
these trials and tribulations will work for our good. The good that these trials will do for us is
worth the endurance of them. Paul had learned through his trials that they ended up bringing
him great comfort and strength in the Lord. He endured more probably, than any other person
outside the Lord Jesus Christ, in his work in spreading the gospel. Yet he left a tremendous
testimony that the Christian faith was sufficient to sustain the soul in its hardest trials. He said
in (II Corinthians 1:3-6) “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that
we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we
ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our
consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation
and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer:
or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
Paul had learned that through his trials and tribulations, God had comforted him, and then he
was able to comfort others in their trials. When trials and afflictions come to Christians they
produce patience. But when trials come to sinners, they are troubled and irritated by them, and
they complain and become more rebellious against God. They have no true source of comfort.
In the life of the Christian, tribulation works patience, and patience works experience.
Experience is another fruit of patience. You see, patient endurance of trials produces
experience. Experience means the result of trials. It means “being tested, approved through a
trial or test. You see, when a Christian has faithfully borne the trials of life from time to time, it
shows the kind of person he really is. His faith has been tested and found to be real and
And then experience produces hope. After we have been through hard trials of testing, this
experience produces hope. Trials, patience and experience are designed to reveal and develop
our character, hope is designed to direct the heart toward the future blessings awaiting the
people of God. Hope directs our minds onward toward another world, our eternal home in
heaven. This hope give us strength and courage to keep on serving the Lord faithfully. It gives
us strength for the rest of our journey home. The Christian hope is certain. We will not be
disappointed. The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Hope, the Foundation that cannot
be shaken. We have a home in heaven that will never pass away. It is eternal. The more trials
and tribulations we go through here in this life makes heaven seem a little closer.
Now by all this we can see that patience is a very important key to living the Christian life.
Many times we don’t understand why we have to go through things. But it is here that we
must be patient. It is here that we must, without murmuring or complaining, wait on the Lord.
The Bible says in (Isaiah 40:28-31) “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the
everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is
weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them
that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the
young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall
walk, and not faint."
Beloved, we may faint and be weary sometimes, but if we wait on the Lord, He will give us
power, He will give us strength, He will give us the encouragement we need to go on. Others
may let us down, but God will never fail us. In this old world we have some hard battles that
take a toll on us. Sometimes the days seem so dark we just can’t see any light until we look to
the blessed Lord, who is the Light of the world. God will reach down with His mighty hand
and lead us through the darkest valleys, and bring us to the joy of His salvation.
Just as peace, prayer and praise are keys to Christian living, so is patience. Waiting on God will
always bring us blessing.
A Continuing Ministry of Milford Cecil
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