Here’s the KJV (link to NIV)
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
The thing is we need patience. We all recognize that it is a positive thing. The other thing is, no one is perfectly patient. That won’t finish until Christ comes back. This life now, is part of the process of getting us ready for that life then. It’s called “sanctification.” If it were easy, everybody would be a saint. But it’s not. As Jesus put it (the Medley Paraphrase) “Look, life is hard and you’re going to have problems, I never said you wouldn’t. I’m not offering you a way to avoid problems right now. What I am offering is some peace now in the midst of the problems. That’s what trusting in me gets you right now. Peace. And that’s what you really wanted anyway. That peace comes because I will be your perseverance and patience for you. I’ve beaten these problems on your behalf.” (Hey, it’s a paraphrase, it can go a bit long. To see the text I’m actually referring to, John 16:33, click here).
Speaking of being complete, James seems to say, if you lack wisdom ask God and he’ll give it to you. Two things you should note: 1) It is likely that wisdom will come about the same way patience does (that is by causing you to use it, and making you aware of your lack of it). 2) Biblical wisdom has less to do with intellectual knowledge and more to do with know what to do when. Proverbs is all about wisdom as doing the right thing, and it begins with fearing (or revering/respecting) God. So, when you are faced with difficult situations, for completing the work of patience/perseverance in you, and you don’t know what to do, ask God. God will help you if you humbly come to him.
How does it change your outlook to realize that Christ is our peace in the midst of trouble? What do you think real wisdom looks like?
Sundays are “off” days for the reading schedule this year. Go celebrate Christ with your local community of believers.