Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. –James 1:4
Through an odd turn of events involving a medical insurance claim and some out of pocket payments, a local doctor’s office ended up owing Andrea and I about $100.00. After talking with the person in charge of the office finances, we were assured that our refund check would be forthcoming. After a couple of weeks the check had not arrived, and I confess that I was overcome with a mean sort of temptation. I considered calling the doctor’s office to remind them that the payment due to me was overdue. Perhaps they would like to work out some payment arrangement. Of course, I would accept payment over the phone if they’d like to settle the debt immediately. I also thought I might tell them that if payment was not made in full within twelve months that the debt would be turned over to collections. I never made that call, but the thought was certainly there.
As I considered my thoughts over the money due to me, I kept coming back to what the Scripture says regarding spiritual maturity. Being petty, vengeful, spiteful, and mean-spirited are opposite of what the mature believer seeks to put into practice. All of us will be faced with situations where we will have to decide between taking the mature response, which honors God, or the immature response, which glorifies self and feeds our own egos. The mature response is always preferable for the follower of Christ. I refer to this as “taking the high road.” Such an attitude reflects the love of Christ which is ever being perfected in maturing followers of the Lord.
Seeking a daily attitude of humility and grace will involve constant perseverance. Spend some time out in the world and our patience is certain to be put to the test. Being like Jesus and taking the loving and mature response to the frustrations of life involve tremendous faith and energy. Anyone can be mean-spirited, hateful, and belligerent. Such immaturity requires little effort. However, taking the high road, being like Jesus Christ, and offering a Christ-like response to the unfair situations we face, requires faith-inspired discipline and commitment. Through an ongoing practice of taking on the attitudes of Jesus, and then persevering in that commitment, will result in spiritual growth and maturity.
Let us never tire to seeking to be like Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. Jesus is our Lord and our example. When we are like Him, we can have the assurance that His light is shining from our lives. Try smiling when you feel frustrated, offer kindness rather than anger, pray for the one who has wronged you, and love those who are difficult and inconsiderate. Doing so distinguishes us from those without Christ in their lives.