Monday, March 16, 2020

Perfect Results

For years I attributed the quote "perfection is the ultimate bore" to one of my favorite books. I said it to friends, put it on social media, and generally smiled at the thought. Recently, my literary world was upset when I re-read that book and didn't find the quote. I couldn't blame editing or re-printing, I was reading the same twenty year old copy I had read several times before. My perfect quote was perfectly made up.

It's probably for the better because the sentiment is not in line with scripture. God's word says repeatedly that perfection is possible (Matthew 5:48), perfection is desirable (Romans 12:2), and is only attained through God's work in us (1 John 2:5, 4:12). If I've learned anything about being a believer, it's that it's not boring. Life in Christ is full, rich, and entertaining.

It is also challenging. Life is hard sometimes, and I truly believe that faith is not a Get Out of Jail Free card. The book of James starts this way:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4, NASB)
Thanks for telling it like is, James!

Some translations show the word "endurance" as "patience." Patience is involved in endurance, but it doesn't express the full action. To me, patience is about waiting. It's the time between now and what is to come. However, endurance has a connotation of survival, of victory. God is calling us to be thankful for difficulty because our faith will increase through it. More than increase, it will be perfected.

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