Ezekiel 29 [Read]
Ezekiel 30 [Read]
Ezekiel 31 [Read]
James 5 [Read]
Being parents is the greatest blessing God has given me and my wife. More than once I would look at my grown-up sons and say to my wife: “Wow! Children do grow. I can’t believe this is the little baby I held in my hands many years ago”. Personally, I think growth is the greatest miracle God has shown and is still showing us to this day.
Growth implies life, for only living things can grow. Conversely, anything that does not grow is either dying or already dead. This is not only valid for biological subjects, but is also applicable to spiritual lives. As Christians, the only way to grow our spiritual life is to remain in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
Growth implies provision, for nothing can grow through starvation. Children need to be fed, and plants need to be watered. In the same way, spiritual life needs timely provisions, like the autumn and spring rains (Js 5:7), in order to grow. Just as the rains and snow from heaven to cause plants to bear fruits, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty” (Isa 55:11). Spiritual growth comes from God’s word. Moreover, like the plants need sunlight besides nutrients, spiritual growth also needs proper environment of trials and sufferings. From sufferings come endurance, character, and hope (Rom 5:3-5), until the Lord’s coming (Js 5:7).
Growth implies patience, for nothing becomes mature overnight. Job endured a long time before God revealed his mercy to him (Js 5:11), and Elijah patiently waited until his prayer was heard and the pouring rain came down to the famine ground (5:17-18). God’s timing is controlled by God, not by us. The only thing we can do is to offer prayer in faith (5:15), being confident that God listens to those who pray in an earnest and God-pleasing way.
The book of James focuses on Christian ethics, so it certainly provides moralistic guidelines for Christian living. However, seeing it as a self-help book in making us a better person is missing the point. The ultimate goal of any biblical teaching is still to drive us closer to the cross, so we may know that apart from him we can do nothing. This is the only way to grow.
Keep on reading, you have finished the 45th book.