Mature and Complete
James 1:4 (NKJV)
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Perfect. Previously when I thought of this word I often linked it to something or someone being flawless and sinless or possessing a characteristic that is unattainable. To some of us, being called as perfect might sound too far-fetched. Initially I had difficulty reconciling with the truth that God has called me to be perfect. However as I study the meaning of “perfect” as mentioned in James 1:4, God begins to shed a new light to my understanding. The biblical meaning of perfect is mature, complete, balanced, grown up and lacking in nothing. With this truth, I now know that God’s meaning of perfect is different from what I’ve learnt previously. Knowing that the meaning of perfect involves being mature and complete has then led me to another question. What does it mean to be mature and complete? God is good! Whenever I come before Him with questions, He always reveals the answers to me in His own unique ways. This time, I found my answer in Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
In these verses, Apostle Paul teaches us three works that are involved in being a mature and complete Christian. Firstly, it is the understanding of the works God has done for us. In Ephesians 2:8, we learn that it is by the grace of God that we have been saved. Salvation is a gift from God, not something anyone can earn to attain it. It is because of Jesus, we are no longer called children of wrath. We are now forgiven and saved by His grace and mercy. But this grace doesn’t give us the license to sin. Instead, the understanding of what God has done for us and the knowledge of His grace should compel us to sin no more. God sent us His Son Jesus, to die on the Cross for our sins. This price that Jesus paid for us is one that is superbly costly. It cost Jesus shame, humiliation, anguish and ultimately His life. The only reason God sent His Son to bear of all those things for us is because of love. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for us.
Next is the work that God is doing in us. Each one of us is a workmanship, a masterpiece of God. He is the Craftsman who is moulding our character to become more and more Christ-like. This is an on-going process that requires the hands of the Craftsman upon us. A masterpiece is to have a surrendered will, to submit to the Craftsman and trusting that He is moulding the masterpiece to a perfect piece of work.
After knowing the works that God has done for us and in us, mature and complete Christians allow God to do His work through them. Paul in Ephesians 2:10 continues to teach us that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works…” The good works could refer to two types of calling: general calling and specific calling. The general calling is for every believer, regardless of our spiritual maturity or physical age. It is to live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:36-40. Whereas the specific calling is one that God gives to an individual and He gives the individual the gifts and talents to fulfill His work in that particular area. In order for God to do His good works through us, we ought to avail ourselves to Him.
A baby will ultimately grow up and mature into an adult. One who doesn’t grow and develop is considered abnormal. So let us all grow and mature as a believer, and never live in stagnation. Join me in this prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your truth. I pray You will help me have a fuller and better understanding of Your love for me and the work that You have done for me. God, I surrender my life to You, for You to mould my character to be more and more like Jesus. I pray that Your Word will continue to shine light into areas of my life that need to be realigned with You. Thank You Father for everything. I pray all these in Jesus’ most mighty Name. Amen!