Ukrainian poet Vasyl Stus, member of a dissident movement and fighter for Ukrainian independence, died in a Soviet labor camp for political prisoners in 1985. He called on his fellow Ukrainians to pursue truth, justice, honesty, and love until the end. Stus stayed true to the principles he set forth in his poems and articles to the point of death—he died in prison as a result of a hunger strike. And he never gave up hope for his native land. In 2005, the president of the new, independent Ukraine awarded Stus the highest national honor: Hero of Ukraine.
At the very beginning of the book of James, we read about trials and testing that produce perseverance, which leads to maturity. Mature faith, as a gift from God to believers, is our topic this month in Today in the Word. As we read through this letter, we’ll look at maturity in its connection with good deeds, wisdom, prayer, and self-control. We’ll see that mature faith seeks not worldly justice but God’s, that it’s patient and expectant, and that it submits humbly to God.
In our world today, described by many as post-Christian and post-truth, the call for Christians to follow “the way and the truth and the life” with mature faith is a matter of life or death. We pray this month’s study will help you on this road, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
—Elena Mafter, Senior Editor