Well, I promised you we would camp on James 3: 17-18 today and I have run myself out of time!
Maybe it is better this way, because I don’t want to tap dance around the topic this passage stirred in me. Have you noticed most of the messages we read in Scripture are succinct and to the point? Paul didn’t use a lot of flowery words and James certainly doesn’t.
So here it is today: short and maybe not “sweet” but true.
Most of the thoughts I am sharing center on the role of social media because right now that is the way most of us are getting information and connection and community. But they can be applied in non social media settings as well. Before Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter, we had magazines and talk shows and meet ups out there in our circles that gave us fodder for comparison. The internet has just ramped it up.
We have inside of us a desire to be our best and when we run into someone who seems to be doing whatever matters most to us better than us, we encounter what James is addressing here.
Whether it was back in my early parenting days when everyone seemed to pull off better birthday parties than I did or now when I scroll past smiling faces gathered around a holiday table that doesn’t involve Kraft macaroni and cheese as a main dish, the comparison game kicks in and I am either ahead or behind…all. the. time.
When I am behind, I am beating myself up and when I am ahead, I am bloated with pride.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
James is trying to help us see that where we may have gone out to seek community, when we let what others have, look like, or do become our focus; we lose sight of what God has for US. When we question why we aren’t this way or that way, we are actually questioning God’s provision and God’s purpose over us. Confusion sets in as we scramble to make our lives look like someone else’s.
On the flip side, when we enter into a room or a post or any setting and are looking for what we can get out of it (even if it is just to feel better about how we are doing), this too is a set up for confusion. In our inflated opinion of how much our efforts are above others, even if just slightly edging them out; we again have entered into a state of self-seeking…and having lost sight of seeking God…we will spiral into a different kind of elitist confusion.
So there it is…the quick version of my thoughts. I have found during Covid that I use social media more than I did before. I miss my friends and I miss the normalcy of what life used to look like for me. It has opened the door for me to connect with friends I have not been able to see and expand friendships that because of our obligations and season I just don’t see anymore.
And that is a good thing. But when I am scrolling and I begin to sense jealousy…or disdain …. or any thing that is falling under the categories (no matter how deceptively disguised these emotions can be) listed by James as envy or self-seeking…it is time to put the phone down for the rest of the day and begin seeking God.
Hope you will come tomorrow. I promise to not step on your toes anymore as we wrap this up. By the way…mine are hurting pretty badly with this little post today.
Love and hugs to you my friends. You are precious <3