February 2, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
*C H O F Ministry Bible Study Reading:
**C H O F Ministry Focal Verse:
James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.
I've had a complicated history with today's Scripture. The "love" component that's connected to adversity, persistence, maturity, and insight was entirely understandable to me. The word "hate" referred to the sentiment expressed in the opening sentence, "Consider it pure joy" (v. 2). That "was" my mental disconnection notice. I would say: “Are You Serious? That’s asking too much!”
Nevertheless, the Bible is clear in its teachings. So, how do these verses map out the spiritual education and development process? Even though the word "learn"isn't used in this passage, the process described is one of developing and maturing toward godliness (vv. 2–4). Our faith is put to the test when we are put through numerous tests and challenges. If we are steadfast in our faith, we will develop perseverance, gradually leading to maturity and ultimately to Christlike wholeness or perfection. If we are not firm in our faith, we will not develop spiritual comprehensiveness or mental resilience.
This process is not a foregone conclusion. We are tasked with making decisions that are just and astute. The learning process comes to a standstill when our faith needs to be improved, or we avoid possibilities for personal development. If we think it won't be easy, all we will do is look for ways to prevent the procedure. Only if we view adversity as "pure joy" can we see it for what it truly is: a gift from God and an opportunity to grow spiritually. We imitate Christ's behavior by doing so: "The trials He endured taught Him obedience" (Heb. 5:8). In this sense, learning is contextual, meaning it can only occur when doing something actively.
Only with God's guidance can we make good decisions, understand His lessons, and develop our faith (James 1:5–8). The Lord is willing and able to bestow liberally on us the gift of wisdom; nevertheless, we must ask for it in trust while maintaining our position atop our Rock and avoiding being tossed about by the wind (see Bible Study Day 9). Results will show how much we have learned. It will not be to our credit but rather to the glory of God that we shall develop and mature if we continue to remain steadfast and persevere in our faith.
Let Us Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, instruct, test, and shape us into something acceptable to You. Please give us the strength we need to follow You into challenging situations. Give us the delight of obeying You, knowing that our surrender brings praise to You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.