|“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
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 hearts.
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 genuine.
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.