James 3:13-18 “Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do. But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy and selfishness, don’t brag or lie to cover up the truth. That kind of wisdom doesn’t come from above. It is earthly and selfish and comes from the devil himself. Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things. But the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. When peacemakers plant seeds of peace, they will harvest justice.”
We are continuing our study of James. It is week 7 of this study, so don’t lose steam! Continue to press into the Word and see what God has in store for you! The verses that we discussed at the Venue this week were James 3:13-18 which talks about wisdom. Wisdom is one of those things that everyone needs but few seem to ask for.
Since we live in the world, it can be difficult to differentiate between “good” worldly wisdom and godly wisdom. How can we tell? The great thing about God and His Word is that it will never change and never contradict itself. Verse 17 provides a standard. Was the wisdom you were given pure and lacks selfish motives? Is it gentle and aware of other people’s feelings? Is it genuine, heartfelt, and sincere? If you can say no to anything on the list or it does not line up from God’s Word, it is not godly wisdom! Another way to see if the wisdom comes from God or man is by who gets the credit in the end. Godly wisdom will always point to God. It will never point to man. A third way to tell if a person in your life is a godly source of wisdom is to look at their life. “True wisdom is authenticated though the process of time.” A true godly source will live a life that points to Jesus and they will produce fruits that are only given by God. They will not have one foot in the world and the other in the church.
The verse that seemed to stick out to most people was verse 18 which says, “Peacemakers who plant seeds in peace, they will harvest justice.” This is a pretty hot topic. We live in a world that is constantly seeking peace and justice. We see injustice and violence every single day and it can be depressing to even turn on the tv. Everyone has their own answer to all the injustice in the word. Everyone believes that they have the wisest answer to deal with the world’s turmoil.
Just yesterday a man was shot in the street by police officers. Public response was to break out in violent protest that left two dozen people injured. People like to misquote Levitucus 24:19-21 in situations like this. “Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death.” But we seem to forget when Jesus says in Matthew 5:38-42, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Now, Jesus isn’t nullifying the Old Testament law. He’s clarifying the fact that the average person does not have the authority to judge others for their wrong doings. It is not your job to take matters into your own hands. Jesus preached to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Judges are to be impartial and to have pure motives. If someone has done you wrong, your motives are tarnished and what you claim is justice, is actually revenge.
If you seek peace, God is our peace. Spend time in His presence and you will produce seeds of peace. You may not see the results in a minute, today, or even tomorrow. You must be patient with every step. Pastor Juan pointed out that the text is plural when it mentions the seed. You can’t just plant once. You have to continue to plant every season of your life. You have to continue to wait. “You can’t see a harvest in a place that you are not faithful.”
If there’s an area of your life that you are lacking wisdom, it is not a lost cause. You can make wise choices in every area of your life. We broke it into a 3 step process. Find where you are and make a change today!
1. Realize & admit that you need God’s wisdom in every area of your life. In order to correct a problem, you have to admit there is one.
2. Be where there is godly wisdom and surround yourself with people who have godly wisdom. We’ve talked about this a bit in the previous weeks. Your environment shapes your outcome. Don’t expect to find godly wisdom from people who’s lives don’t point to God.
3. Be patient with yourself. When you begin to walk in wisdom, you will be parting from a lifestyle choice that you have made for years. It may be more difficult than you think. But remember, seeds take time to grow. If doesn’t blossom as soon as you plant, it doesn’t mean the seed is dead but rather that it is still fueling and nurturing growth.
I hope this study is blessing you and that God is revolutionizing your walk with him. We hope that you will join us every Tuesday night at the Venue to discuss what God is doing in our lives today!