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Patience: To Have and To Hold

December 16th, 2009

If you ask me, the first few verses of the book of James is absolute madness.  Don’t judge me just yet; here, read it. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Count trials as joy?!  What?

Somehow, we’re supposed “know” that the testing of our faith produces patience.  Like so many things in God’s Word, what we’re supposed to know we often don’t know.  The kicker of the passage is this phrase: “let patience have its perfect work . . . ” In our vernacular, the term “let” is pretty weak and passive.  I let someone in front of me in the traffic jam.  I let the fire burn out in the fire place.  It denotes inaction so that something else can take action.

But upon further review, the greek word for “let” has a much stronger connotation.  The word is “echo” and it literally translates “to have or to hold.” It’s used of those joined to anyone by the bonds of natural blood or marriage.  Wow!  That changes everything!  Instead of just passively letting the process that is producing patience within us happen, we are called to take hold of it as if we are in a committed relationship to it.

Oh how things in my life would change if I married myself to the process that is producing God’s desired result in my life!  What would happen if I embraced it?  I’m not talking about the things that make us feel good . . . I mean the “various trials” that randomly raise their heads in my life on a daily basis.  Yeah, that’s the stuff I’m supposed to embrace . . . not just let happen.  Not to enjoy the struggle, but to accept with joy the process of what God is doing in me through the struggle.

To have.  To hold.  From this day forward.  May it happen in me.


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