I’ve been reading and working through James lately. Bible study excites me because no matter how many times I read and study a passage, there is always more to see and learn.
Last week, in reading through the first half of chapter 1, I noticed for the first time the use of wind as an illustration. Out here in east TX, we try to be very aware of and prepared for super windy days – especially since the drought from a couple of years ago weakened many of our tall trees. Our power company works hard, but on the windiest days, it is not uncommon for trees to be knocked over and take out a power line or two. Also, we all know what a key and dangerous role wind plays in spreading fires across drier than normal fields and forested areas.
We’ve had some very windy days this month, and maybe that’s what the Lord used to steer my attention to the wind illustrations in James. As one of the earliest New Testament book written, the first readers were the first Christians of the church age, and at the time most were Jews being persecuted mainly by non-believing Jews. This persecution is the wind that blew the gospel of Christ across the known world. Thus, the theme of James – endure!
And the first two lessons on endurance use wind to illustrate the point. First, we are told that the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea – which can be driven and tossed by the wind. Secondly, we see that the man who pursues material possessions as means for security is like the flowering grass, which when the sun and scorching wind come, withers and fades away.
Faith in the Lord is critical to endure the windy tests and trials of this world. When we look at the weakened trees that are most susceptible to being knocked over by the wind, we can learn a great lesson. While the trees don’t have much of a choice of how nourished and strong they are, we do. The Lord tells us that a key to growing, nourished faith is wisdom, which He promises to give generously to anyone who asks. How does He provide wisdom, though? Is it just downloaded like a mobile app into our brain? No, but Psalm 1 does give us the key to how He generously gives wisdom. It teaches us how to be a tree firmly planted near streams of water that produces fruit in His time and never withers under the wind. We are to delight in the law of the Lord.
The Lord never promises to shield us completely from the winds of the world, which will try to blow us over and render us useless. It can just blow us around like the sea, making us feel like we don’t have any anchor or foundation, like we are being tossed around by every stressful circumstance and relationship. It can also tempt us to place our faith in our own ability to obtain secure footing, usually through dependence on financial security.
Either way, the wind will blow. We don’t know when or from where it will come, but we know from James that when it comes, depending on how ready we are, we will either endure or we won’t.
Are you ready for windy days? Am I? Are our roots nourished and rooted into the Word of God? Is our faith in Jesus Christ growing stronger? Are we seeking Him for wisdom and humbly obeying His Word?
To close, I encourage us all to commit Psalm 1 to memory, and to ask the Lord for wisdom to endure the windy days.