This week on the blog I have been looking at a passage from James and I am concluding it today. Hopefully it is a lesson in itself and you don’t need the other portions, but if you are curious you can check out Tuesday through today’s posts.
I found the passage while I was setting aside some prayer time this week. As I was using a small prayer book I keep by my side of the bed I found a prayer for emotional pain and we certainly are surrounded right now by many who are struggling with just such a dis-ease. As I prayed through the Scriptures-based prayers, I came upon one that deeply touched our current setting.
It was based on James 3: 13-18. I would like to share the entire passage with you before we begin. Please read “he” as in he or she. We get so touchy about the use of “he” for general application so if you are a she, please change it in your mind as you read. He is talking to ALL of us <3
Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is envy and selfish ambitions, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.James 3: 13-18 CSB
This whole passage just sums up the current state of life in 2020. As I looked up the word “gentleness” or “meekness” in verse 13, I found that this word is not a weak response or a resigned response based on a believer’s knowledge and faith in God’s sovereignty no matter how much is going on that is out of our control or understanding. It is a steadfastness IN the midst of circumstances over which we have no influence or authority. It is not passive acceptance but it does dictate how we respond and I hope we all would agree that from the top down and the down up we could all use some discretion in how we respond these days.
In the posts this week, I addressed both social media and every day conversations regarding the chaos and upheaval and pain we see around us. I want to be wise in the way I show compassion and in what I support and in what I oppose. This passage tells me if I get my “wisdom” from a worldly source, it will lead to disorder and evil. I want to make sure that what I say and how I take action on issues is not because of pressure from anyone to conform or because I want to be well thought of by any group of humans.
The wisdom I need cannot come from people, platforms, current moods or any other source that is trying to press opinions on me. They might be spot on and righteous, but I have a standard that I can measure it up against that is solid.
This passage in James reminds me that I need to check my own heart first off. I need to prayerfully and scrupulously identify and root out any kind of bitterness, envy (which includes comparison of all kinds) and self-promotion.Most of us want to be liked and considered nice people. We want to look smart and funny and fit in with whoever our peer group happens to be. But if that is the motivation for speaking, posting, commenting; the result will be more disorder, more unrest, more conflict.
However; if we follow James teaching and measure our responses and positions to godly wisdom, we can go right down the checklist. Your version of doing this will look different at different times and will be different from mine, but here is an example:
Is it pure?
Or is it something I heard someone say that someone else said? Is it pure wisdom or mixed in with other things that I picked up from the news, a popular book or an article someone shared?
Is it peace-loving?
Or am I getting my two cents shot off with a rush of adrenaline pumping through my veins?
Is it gentle?
Did I take the time to prayerfully love the ones I am unloading my opinions onto?
Is it compliant?
Same meaning as meek. Am I weighing how much to invest emotionally based on the steadfast understanding that God is still on HIs throne?
Is it full of mercy?
Am I leaving room to validate the feelings and experiences of those I don’t necessarily agree with?
Is it bearing good fruit?
Is the “wisdom” I am tuning into making me anxious, mean-spirited, fearful, bitter or more kind, loving and gracious and trusting in God rather than man?
Is it unwavering?
Steadfast? Not hot and cold/wishy washy depending on who I am talking to?
Is it without pretense?
Am I following wisdom that makes me look good or wisdom that makes me a better person to represent my Lord and Savior to others? Am I highlighting my own attributes or those of another person or cause instead of the character of my God?
So there you go.
I see a lot of disorder and evil out there that I have no control or influence over. But I don’t have to be a contributor to it. I can seek godly wisdom and I can use the standards set in this passage to evaluate how I am doing with staying the course. I can support others and I can speak up when things are wrong, but I need to do so with a godly heart.
God is trying to show us a better way to live. It is a daily walk. May you each be blessed as you seek wisdom in HIs Word and then apply it to your life <3