James 3: 13-18 13 “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Some heavy words to start our day today but man did they challenge me when I was looking at the chapter in Fervent on relationships.
One of the things I like to do as I am studying God’s Word is to read the passages in different versions of the Bible. The BibleGateway app is wonderful for things like this! I use an ESV Bible, but at times the Message Bible offers a more “plain language” view and it is particularly relevant here.
13-16 “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.
17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”
Whenever we are trying to look better than others, things fall apart. Can I get an Amen!
But when I stop and look at my own behavior in relationships, isn’t that what I find myself doing? The need to fit in, to belong, can often translate into a striving for success so that we appear like we have it all together. This can lead to pride.
Pride in my life is a bad thing!
I start puffing myself up, making myself look good and then I start to think “hey, I’ve got this life managed pretty well…” I stop praying, stop seeking God’s wisdom and start relying on my own. What is that saying? Pride comes before the fall?
Each and every time friends…each and every time!
I want to be remembered as someone who is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings. Isn’t that what we all want?! But I can’t do that and be fighting for my place at the top at the same time. I want people to see Jesus through me, in all areas of my life.
Priscilla said this, “The magnet that draws other people out of darkness toward the light and hope of Jesus Christ is so often not the A-B-C evangelism presentation they hear but the one they see – the recognizable change and difference in people who claim to be at peace with God themselves.” Fervent p.174
As we walk through the end of this journey of Fervent Prayer I hope that we would be stirred to seek God’s wisdom for our lives. That we would be humbled and gracious towards others. That we would be that light in a dark world. That we would daily seek God for the strength to do those things. Without prayer, without God’s help, I am a hot mess.
But through Him and because of Him I can build relationships with others, disagree and be respectful at the same time, offer compassion and mercy to those suffering around me. I can’t do these things on my own, I need God’s help. Today I am grateful that His work isn’t finished with me yet. That I have the opportunity to make a difference because He has made a difference in me.
Lord, we just thank and praise You for who You are. We ask Lord that You would pour out Your wisdom over us. Give us eyes to see Your will, hearts that seek to love others the way You loved us. This life is a gift, help us to be the kind of person that people will know, we are different because of You. May our lives bring You the glory and honor You deserve! In Jesus Name, Amen!