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James 1:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Here endurance (ὑπομονή hupomonē) has the sense of steadfast endurance, that is, the strength to with hardships or stress, having this inward fortitude or resilience. Such a person possesses a tremendous amount of perseverance and patience. James, here, states why a believer can rejoice in his trials when he writes, let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect. James uses the word perfect (τέλειος teleios) more than any other New Testament writer does. Perfect here has the sense of being complete without any defect or blemish. So, James’s use of perfection is not moral perfection, but rather it has to do with wholeness or completeness in the believer’s spiritual walk with Christ. The trials can help produce God’s desired outcome for the believer, and he will be more complete in God.
Let endurance be refined as it is developed to provide relevant results without being blocked by this Satanic age in which we live. Let it not be hindered in its ability to influence our soul by murmurings, complaining, or rebellion. Perseverance and patience under trials are needed to produce crucially essential effects on the soul. We are not to prevent them in any way by a headstrong or self-willed spirit or by resistance to the will of God. Everyone troubled by human imperfections and Satan’s world should want the desired results of the affliction to be produced on his mind (heart), or that there should be produced in his soul (inner being) precisely the effects which his trials were supposed to accomplish.
We may have components of a good character. However, they may sit just beneath the surface of who we are. We may have good qualities, attributes, and characteristics, but these may not be fully realized. Living through and dealing with our human imperfections and the wickedness of Satan’s world will refine and bring to the fore these good qualities, attributes, and characteristics. Therefore, we should not seek a way to escape life’s difficulties at all costs, such as doing things that may be contrary to God’s will and purposes. This will have the opposite effect, in that we will develop bad qualities, attributes, and characteristics in order to sidestep life’s difficulties. However, allowing endurance to have its perfect work in producing Godly qualities, attributes, and characteristics: persistence, patience, holiness, duty, Godly devotion, reverence, and zeal.
For this reason, God, although not the cause of the trials, would allow them to come about. James also adds that the trials be permitted by God to make one more complete(ὁλόκληρος holoklēros). The trials make the believer complete in that he has all the necessary qualities that he needs, giving him Godly character in life. He is able to endure the trials, producing greater holiness in his life so that he is lacking in nothing (λείπω leipō; μηδείς mēdeis), meaning that he is not missing or without anything that he needs to complete your character. This is not talking about what he desires or wants, but what he needs. Thus, he is content with and resting in God.