The first chapter of James, the Lord’s brother teaches us a few things with his use of teleios and its variants.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Christian maturity is a destination and it takes endurance to get there. This endurance, often rendered patience, is an active endurance that helps one accomplish great feats under tremendous pressure, in this passage the trials of the Christian life. This word for endurance also refers to constancy. The Christian continues day in and day out to accomplish the work of sanctification in his life under the pressure of living and what life throws at him or her, without wavering or experiencing a meltdown (constancy). We can see that this endurance is a means and a test as to how we are progressing along the road to maturity. Embrace the process, as I am fond of saying.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)
A prayer that will be always answered in the positive is the prayer for wisdom. The road to Christian maturity requires godly wisdom to navigate around potholes, road construction, and traffic accidents in life. Notice the inclusion of the word unstable in our passage. This would be the opposite of constancy, and thus should be something to avoid in the journey to Christian maturity. Embrace the process.
Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:17-18)
The perfect gift is from the loving Father himself. The perfect gift comes down from heaven and is thus eternal in value and purpose. The perfect gift is the new birth. Now grow; you were born for this Christian life. There is no variation in God – He is constant, and His love is continual for you. The perfect gift was birthed in truth for a purpose – so that our lives can be an offering to the Lord. From birth to maturity. For eternity. For a purpose. Embrace the process.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:22-27)
It is almost contradictory to think that freedom produces good works. But perfect freedom is the only way to move from works to good works. There is a lot of practical ways to measure were your growth is in this passage. What good works are you and the Holy Spirit doing? Doing comes from being and good works come from maturity, the teleios.