Definition*: strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. *From Merriam Webster Online
Today’s Verse (I always pray for a chapter after my regular Bible reading, hoping to get a word).
James 1:2-4 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let your endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I wonder what perfect, in this context, means?
Wait. I’m a good little intern. I have a concordance. Let’s go!
In both of the above, it’s the same word (Strong’s G5046) which is teleios; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc); completeness – of full age, man, perfect. (It’s a neuter noun).
It says it derives from tello (G5056)which is the point aimed at as a limit, the conclusion of an act or state, a result. (There’s more in Strong’s, but this gets me to where I need to go for this application).
I guess then, the point is that the tests produce endurance (patience in the KJV), and endurance is part of the end-goal for Christians. James went on to say that we should ask for wisdom with faith, nothing wavering… I think asking for wisdom while your faith is being stretched is an excellent plan, although a little counter-intuitive. But … I do want to gain God’s insight on what’s going on in my life, I don’t just want to be tumbled ’round without improvement. Polish me up!
I will say that insofar as this particular valley is concerned (or time through the rapids), the worst of the immediate pain is over. Hopefully? I’m typing this and getting the “that’s untrue!” vibe. Harumph. Anyway. The first surge of panic is done – there might be more panic to come, but the first bit is done. Now it’s about endurance, holding on tightly while God works His perfect work. It’s always difficult to take note of the lessons you’re learning while you’re in the midst of the whitewater… that’s part of the point of all this bloggy action.
Lessons So Far:
1) Be blunt. Be louder about who I really am inside, and the things that really bother me. Less polite, more forthcoming.
2) Let Jesus be my defender. When the cards are on the table, it’s human nature to want to make it all better. Or, if not human nature, it’s certainly within my nature. I want, badly, to defend myself, to explain myself, to soften the impact of my truth. Not my job. I’m here only as a witness, I’m not part of the defense team. “Just the facts, Ma’am!”
3) God has something beautiful planned, and this time of polishing *has* to happen. I hate it, and I hate it more because I’m not the one who’s getting the worst of it.
4) I have to let other people go through their own whitewater. Even if I was a catalyst, the whitewater experience is between them and God. I can’t take their polishing *for* them – it won’t polish me, just leaves scratches – and it keeps them from moving forward and making the choices they need to make.
5) Like many “nice” women, I’m marshmallow fluff with a titanium backbone. Well, it used to be a balsa-wood backbone, but apparently God fixed that in the last valley. People react poorly to suddenly coming up against the titanium, so I need to rearrange the marshmallow fluff so you can tell that there’s *something* holding it all up. Also, I’m getting some of the marshmallow sandblasted off.