Welcome to Welling for your spiritual well-being and ministry overflowing. These are simple talks for thoughtful reflection and then intentional execution and application in your life.
This talk is on maximizing benefits. Salesmen are both untrustworthy and trustworthy. A salesmen went to the doctor and says, would you please help me stop talking to myself?
And the doctor says, why is that? The patient says, I’m a salesman, and I’m selling things to myself which I don’t want. Salesmen, who are untrustworthy– they don’t tell you the costs of a product or a service, and they lie a lot. Somebody says a salesman’s mouth when it’s moving shows that he’s lying.
But trustworthy salesmen go beyond talking about the features and the advantages of a product or service, go beyond to costs and benefits. The Apostle James in James Chapter One tells you about the costs and the benefits so that he can be considered a trustworthy salesman. He has explained reality. We face trials.
He talks about the costs but only then goes on to benefits. By the way, these benefits are hardly quantifiable as his costs are. And therefore, there is no commission attached that James gets a cut for having sold us this particular perspective.
However, as unpopular as reality is, James talks about benefits, sort of roll over benefits, concepts of roll over benefits of trials. The trials themselves not benefits, but they are beneficial.
These benefits help you pay for the costs of the troubles and the turmoil, the tragedy and the trials, that we face. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters. Whenever you fall and face and feel various kinds of trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance, perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We talk about optimizing trials last time. Now I want to speak about maximizing benefits, not only making faith fully functional and effective as possible, pulling out all the value of trials– trials constrain. They restrict us.
But these trials can be used as resources on demand to deliver real time spiritual maturity for all of us. They reduce the future costs of having to learn the same things over and over again, which, by the way, as a slow learner, I’m very good at. It improves the efficiencies in learning and the effectiveness of learning because they are product.
These trials, they boost. They develop. They expand.
They extend. They provide the breakthrough to maturity without which we don’t become mature. Life was just easy all the time.
The trials in themselves need to be optimized and maximized for maturity to be the benefit. You will be perfect and complete– perfect in your faith, complete in your character. Perfect and genuine in your faith, and your character is not compromised. You are growing.
The difference between patience and perseverance is sometimes pointed out this way. Patience is where you put up with others. Perseverance is where you bear up under things.
He’s speaking here about bearing up under things. Other times, of course, patience is a virtue that we’ve got to develop as a fruit of the spirit. This perseverance is endurance, fortitude, persistence, constancy, a staying power, steadfastness.
This is not stoic endurance where you care, but you’re not joyful about it, where no one knows what you feel and don’t get close to you. Somebody says stress is where you wake up screaming, and you realize you haven’t yet gone to sleep. It’s not fatalistic endurance.
I deserve this. I’m resigned to this. It’s not relative endurance– that is, compared to others, I’m so good, and why do I still face trials? Or compared to others, I can de-stress much better than they can.
There’s a story of a doctor who asks his patient, what do you do when you feel stressed? And the patient says, I go to the temple. The doctor says, you go to the temple to pray? He says, no. I mix up all the shoes that are left outside the temple and watch people with more stress than I, and my stress goes away.
Not relative endurance. It is not passive endurance, where you don’t care and you don’t take responsibility. It is instead active, joyful endurance, that you do care about your trials.
You will do something about what you can do something about. And what you cannot do something about, you will maximize value. Optimize them.
Use them as a trigger for joy. Be intentional and grow from it in the decisions and the actions that you bring to it and your reaction. That is active endurance. You fulfill their purpose by your endurance, of your steadfastness. So you have joy in counting them as favorable, and joy at the end of it produced, which allows you to count more trials as favorable.
Notice here perseverance is not the goal. Benefits come with the right responses. Slow endurance has the work it has to do.
But then there’s the state which you get to achieve, to accomplish. That is god’s intended goal– testing, endurance, perfection. There’s an educated value, we all know, in the school of life. But there’s a completive value.
In some languages, there are many tenses. Especially in the Slavic languages, it’s very difficult to understand them. They talk about actions completed successfully without reference to time.
They are a simple whole. They’re not connected to the internal structure of the time in which they occur. That’s exactly what the author is speaking about.
You are a completed whole. It is not related to the time internally of the structure in which it occurs, but you are completed. In German, they call it Aktionsart, part of the way a verb is structured in relationship to time. It’s a completive aspect– full development of endurance. It’s a complete aspect of great, perfect, mature Christian character.
In Greek thought, perfection meant morally perfect. In Hebrew thought, however, it means complete in the sense of mature, like a banana or a mango. You don’t want an unripe mango or a banana.
It gives you all kinds of allergies and doesn’t taste so good. One day, there will be complete moral integrity that will fully matter to God. And God, who is that way, who is whole, will see that you become whole.
I want you to go back to the early part of this verse in verse four, knowing that– knowing that. Your endurance, you can know that, and you can know how. You can know that as an intellectual expertise. You can know how in your accumulated wisdom.
We’ll talk later about the wisdom that you get from God, the character of individual acts. They’ll be perfect. The model whom we pursue, He is perfect.
And one day, there’s a status of perfect that will be slapped on your life. So it’s a heart thing. It’s a mind thing. It’s a life thing. It is a forever thing.