Let Steadfastness Have Its Full Effect

Jas. 1:4 - "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

I remember one of the first times I attempted to make chocolate chip cookies by myself. I was excited and in a hurry to get them in the oven so my siblings and I could enjoy the chocolate-filled result of my labor. When the oven timer sounded, I pulled the sheet of cookies out and we realized something was not right. Instead of looking at twelve steaming cookies, we were looking at a single cookie sheet filled with a gooey mess, because the cookies had all run together. In my haste I had failed to use enough flour. Additionally, I had removed them from the heat of the oven too early, and they were not what they should have been. I put the tray back in the oven, and we eventually ate very flat cookie "bars."

While writing to some saints who were encountering the heat and pressure of "various trials," James tried to help them realize that those uncomfortable trials were actually accomplishing something, and he didn't want them to remove themselves from that perfecting process prematurely. The testing of their faith would produce steadfastness, and that steadfastness needed to be given an opportunity to finish its job.

Instead of running away from the trial, or compromising their faith in order to ease the pressure of the trial, James encouraged them to let the perfecting process finish its course. "Let steadfastness have its full effect."

In one of his hymns, William Cowper wrote the following regarding the potential benefit of trials :

"Trials make the promise sweet;

Trials give new life to prayer;

Trials bring me to His feet,

lay me low, and keep me there."

If you're currently going through a trial, remember what James wrote. Take joy in the trial knowing that God is using it to develop the ability to persevere, and that the long-term effect of perseverance is spiritual maturity, becoming more like Jesus. Let the trial do its job. Let it drive you to Jesus. Let it finish its work. Don't get out of the oven prematurely!

Jeremy Dehut