Part 1 of 12
Continuing with our series on Wisdom and Successful Living, we have found that wisdom is both from above and necessary in our daily living. It is a life skill that comes with knowledge and practice. It is the Hebrew term chokmah, which means skillful living or wisely winding your life with skill around the circumstances you face with good judgment and sober thinking and knowledge.
As one wonderful saint from the south was known to say, “The Hard Thing About Life is that it is So Daily!” Life as a gift includes necessarily hard times. These hard times become our tutorial for growth, for maturity, for lessons to be learned, for understanding better the Kingdom of God and our place in It. At the most basic level, James 1:2-4, written as the first of the New Testament books about one year after the crucifixion, hence Christian Living 101, says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Three critical truths emerge:
1. Joy at the Outset of Hard Times. In the original Greek, the instruction to respond with joy is at the beginning of the sentence! In other words, we are to embrace hard times with joy at the outset, not as a tail wagging the dog at the end of the trial. This comes from believing God is in control of all things, that he means events in your life for your good and that you and He both are committing to you growing up! Becoming his disciple.
2. Guaranteed Hard Times. Additionally, everyone has God designed trials for their good. It is “when” not “whether.” It is part of growing up. Just as a child grows to maturity, so we are to grow in our faith and Christian life, and hard times are always the vehicle for accomplishing that. No exception. No exemptions!
3. Proof is in the Final Product. Look at the end result. Three parts: (1) mature – growing up; (2) complete – finished in a beautiful form; and (3) not lacking in anything.
Maybe physical exercise is an example of this spiritual exercise. About 14 months ago, with my children teasing me about modest exercise at my club, I ramped up my exercise regime. Before our club closed due to the coronavirus, I was up to six times a week, one hour each day. And I noticed that my endurance substantially increased. Now rather than falling off the exercise bike, I got through the hour in better shape! Such is the case with spiritual exercise. It takes work, hard times, mental resolve, and the result is better spiritual strength and health for hard times. And it looks like we are facing that in our virus-laden country in the next months. God’s best to you during this time. Stay well.
– John Moore