In high school football, none of us enjoyed running ten to twenty laps. It was agonizing.
Our coaches appeared to be unconcerned about the pain they caused, but there was only one way to be ready for the big game. Similarly, Christ knows there is only one way for the believer to mature and become like Him.
Trials and conflicts condition us to demonstrate the grace of God.
In James 1:4, the present active imperative of “let…have” implies continual submission to progress toward the ultimate goal of Christlikeness. God cannot complete His “perfect effect” (from a Greek word for the “completion of a process, or reaching full grown”) in us without teaching us “endurance” (lit. being “under pressure,” or the “capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances”).
Alan Redpath said, “For every discouragement has been allowed to come to us in order that through it we may be cast in utter helplessness at the Saviour’s feet” (Christian Quotes.com).
The objective of God’s “coaching” is to make us “perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.” Paul’s use of the word “perfect” does not mean moral or spiritual absolute perfection; it refers to what is fully developed or matured.
Even James admitted, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Paul confessed, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on” (Phil 3:10, 12).
Paul referred to the analogy of suffering the pain of childbirth as part of the process of producing Christian maturity when he wrote, “my children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Gal 4:19). The word complete means “a totality or entirety.”
This is not a superficial conformity to legalistic standards, but it means that your thoughts, beliefs, values, motivations, discipline, habits, reactions, responses, ambitions, and goals all reflect the principles of God’s word. Having learned the application of the word to every one of these areas, each of us is tested until the right responses become more instinctive. Then we will not be “deficient in anything.”
This we know: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace… will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Pet 5:10). He knows what each of us needs. Trust Him as your coach.
“Lord, why is my maturity so important to You? If becoming like You is good for me, then I’ll take whatever circumstance You send me today.”
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