James 1:4 …that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV)
Perfect, complete and lacking nothing.
Now that’s sounds like where I want to be. If I watch TV and listen to the radio, both secular and Christian, that sounds like what just about everyone is after.
If you did a poll of a hundred different people, groups, organizations, churches and businesses, you’d get 150 different answers on what it means to be “perfect, complete and lacking nothing”.
Let’s check out a few possibilities:
Marketing, advertising and the never ending assault of “want more, buy more, have more” are the drum beats of Madison Avenue. According to commercials and the producers of consumers goods, the way to be perfect and lacking nothing is to have designer clothes, the best car, a luxurious boat, a huge house…. drink the right beer, wear the right makeup, take the right drugs, know the right people…. read the right books, belong to the popular political crowd… and the list goes on and on. In fact, the list is so long and so unattainable, it amazes me that people are still so influenced by the marketing onslaught.
We will never reach a point where the world says, “enough!”
You can’t be rich enough, beautiful enough, thin enough, sexy enough or have enough “stuff” that you finally see a commercial that says “we’re not talking to you. You don’t need this. You are perfect and lacking nothing”.
Think about the never ending treadmill materialism puts you on:
- Monday – here’s the new or improved product you MUST have to be happy, cool, popular and satisfied
- Tuesday – the same company makes a new product but has no customers because they’ve all bought the previous perfect product
- Wednesday – the same company declares to the world the NEW standard of cool, hip, popular, trendy and acceptable
- Thursday – the same company now offers their latest new and improved product that matches the new acceptable standards
- Friday – you buy the new product in your search for happiness, contentment and acceptance
- Saturday – now you’re stuck trying to pay for all the “things” you buy in your search for fulfillment
- Sunday – the same company (or industry) again declares that the old stuff is “out of style” and “not good enough”
Now, we all need some “stuff”. That’s not the problem. The problem is falling prey to the endless cycle of consumerism and materialism. Think about it. The same people that sell you products MUST declare them to be inadequate or antiquated so that they can then sell another round of product. We fall for this every day and it has created a world of people with a world of “stuff” who are unhappier than ever before.
You will never be perfect, complete and lacking nothing for more than a few days if you allow Madison Avenue to dictate what that means.
Sex, parties, fame, fortune, sex, political correctness, popularity, sex, drugs, glamour, luxury, plastic surgery, image… and did I mention sex? How far do you have to look in Hollywood to see that being happy, fulfilled, content, satisfied and lacking nothing is NOT part of what Hollywood offers or advertises?
Professional Sports & Entertainment
Reference the Hollywood list and add groupies, athletics and gambling.
Religion says that the way to a fulfilled life, lacking nothing, is to be dedicated and faithful to a religion. Whatever religion it is, be faithful to it. Be dedicated. Don’t aks questions and for heaven’s sake, don’t look for any real evidence of authenticity. Work hard at whatever they ask you to do. At least do the “minimum requirements” to be considered a member. Work your way to heaven. Believe whatever you want, as long as you are sincere about it. Belong to the right organization. Follow their rules. Or enjoy their lack of rules. The bottom line is: there are lots of ways to get to “heaven” and any number of religions can tell you how you work your way there.
To be perfect, complete and lacking nothing is to engage in “religion”, according to “religion”. That’s assuming your religion even claims a person CAN be perfect, complete and lacking nothing. Most do not.
A large and growing portion of Christianity seems to promote the same thing as Madison Avenue: health, wealth, prosperity, abundance, success and now more and more, social activity… the “good life”. This is the way to being perfect, complete and lacking nothing. It’s Madison Avenue in Christian clothing.
Oh yes, as I said, we all need some “stuff” and it is God who blesses us with stuff. But God never intended “stuff” to be our focus. Rather, we are to use our “stuff” to enact His will in our life and to enjoy life in such a way that our “stuff” glorifies the Stuff-Giver. The world says “stuff makes you happy”. God says “I’ll give you stuff to do my will and take care of your needs”. It’s not having things that is the problem. It is the endless pursuit of them – making it the REAL focus of our life.
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This is not an “anti-possessions” lesson. God is the giver of all good gifts. He blesses us with material possession. But, there can be no argument that our battle with the world’s temptations take the form of a few basic things: sex, power, pride and possessions. It just so happens that as Christians, it has been found acceptable to preach “materialism” as Godly under the Christian cloak of “blessing” and “abundance”. So it’s important to emphasize that particular point a little more. We don’t hear too many sermons about the Christian pursuit of sex, power and pride. The world preaches that plenty loud and there isn’t a way (yet) to dress that up in Christian language and pass it off as something Godly (yet).
The point is, the world, and the worldly part of the Church, are offering a whole lot of things that won’t make us “perfect and lacking nothing”. Happy, fulfilled, content… when it gets down to it, those are basic human needs, and everyone in their own way is searching for it. So what does the Bible say will make you “perfect and lacking nothing”?
The Apostle James
And the answer is… drumroll please…. suffering. WHAT??? Suffering makes you perfect and complete lacking nothing. Let’s take a look:
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV)
We are to “count it all joy” when we suffer. Why? Because it produces fulfillment and perfection in our lives. How? Through the cultivation of patience. Patience in this verse is better translated “endurance” or “perseverance”. Through the testing of our faith in trials we develop perseverance (confident patience) which “does its work” towards making us perfect and complete, lacking nothing. This “perfection” is not sinlessness. It is spiritual maturity, contentment, happiness and fulfillment.
When our faith is tested and we “pass”, it builds our faith and trust in God. The more we trust God the more we believe His promises. The more we believe His promises, the more real Heaven and our eternal rewards become to us. The more we understand and are convinced about the reality and inevitability of living in eternal bliss with God in heaven, the more satisfied we become with our life. As we grow and realize that God is our true reality, that heaven is our true destination and that great eternal reward awaits us in the blink of an eye… the more we know that we don’t TRULY need anything this world has to offer and its not really worth much time pursuing.
When the reality of eternity settles in on us (suffering producing faith, producing patience, producing perseverance) then we get to a place of perfection (spiritual maturity) because we “lack nothing” (knowing that materialism is fleeting and God provides us with all we need both in this life and the next).
So, I’ve got an idea for a new commercial:
“New and Improved Suffering! Guaranteed to produce faith and patience. And if you order today, we’ll throw in at no extra charge a brand new case of ‘various trials’. Of course all our products come with an eternal life, money-back-if-not-satisfied risk free guarantee! We promise that if your suffering does not produce faith and patience, we will send you a brand new dose of suffering FREE! For the rest of your life! Just listen to what others are saying about our New and Improved Suffering:
‘I’m more patient and have more faith than I’ve ever had. My suffering and trials were exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’m completely satisfied with life and my whole trust is in God who I know cares for my every need. Thanks Suffering!’ (results not typical; suffering may vary)
Start now! There’s no obligation and no phone number to call! Just go out and tell everyone you’re a Christian and suffering will start coming your way!“
GOOD WHILE SUPPLIES LAST; NOT VALID IN OTHER RELIGIONS, CALIFORNIA OR AT PRO WRESTLING EVENTS; NOT GOOD WITH OTHER OFFERS OF ETERNAL LIFE; SEE THE BIBLE FOR PARTICIPING DETAILS.
What do you think the chances are that Walmart would pick up my new product line? Do you think I could get a NASCAR endorsement?
The next time you find yourself searching for a happy, fulfilled and contented life where you “lack nothing”, don’t turn to the world for answers. Madison Avenue will never say “enough!” Hollywood and Sports don’t have a clue. Religion is futile including “materialistic christianity”.
Want to be happy, fulfilled, spiritually mature and lacking nothing in your life? Turn to God’s Word for the real answers.
Lord God, Help us to know that the world and religion will not help us find true spiritual maturity or fulfillment. Help us to learn to turn to You and only You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: God can, and will give us what we need to be spiritually mature (perfect), complete and lacking nothing. It will be real, it will be lasting. However, it’s not what the world says will make you happy so you have to be willing to trust that God knows what He is talking about.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?