Day 13: James 3:13-18

For the past couple of days, we have reflected on the power of the tongue to do evil.  Today we get a beautiful invitation to God’s life of wisdom and peace-making.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.   Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (TNIV)

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4 thoughts on “Day 13: James 3:13-18

  1. It is striking how James describes a wise person in this passage. Wisdom is not about knowing more. It is about doing the right thing…with humility. You can be smart–and a fool. You can have very little education and be incredibly wise. Wisdom flows out of a God-shaped character. I find myself stirred by the phrase that is repeated twice, once negatively and then positively: “wisdom comes down from heaven.” It is a gift. And if we connect it to everything that James has said earlier, it is a gift given to those who have a vibrant faith lived out in their words and actions. A wise person is a person with integrity.
    The second part of the passage highlights wisdom as peacemaking. We know that we are on the road to wisdom when we are actively trying to help people reconcile, work together better, deal with issues, find a better way. Ironically, that is not how many people perceive Christians.
    My prayer for today is that God would fill me with His wisdom, as I seek to live out my faith with integrity, finding ways to create peace.
    There’s more in these verses, what do you hear God saying?

  2. It is striking how James describes a wise person in this passage. Wisdom is not about knowing more. It is about doing the right thing…with humility. You can be smart–and a fool. You can have very little education and be incredibly wise. Wisdom flows out of a God-shaped character. I find myself stirred by the phrase that is repeated twice, once negatively and then positively: “wisdom comes down from heaven.” It is a gift. And if we connect it to everything that James has said earlier, it is a gift given to those who have a vibrant faith lived out in their words and actions. A wise person is a person with integrity.
    The second part of the passage highlights wisdom as peacemaking. We know that we are on the road to wisdom when we are actively trying to help people reconcile, work together better, deal with issues, find a better way. Ironically, that is not how many people perceive Christians.
    My prayer for today is that God would fill me with His wisdom, as I seek to live out my faith with integrity, finding ways to create peace.
    There’s more in these verses, what do you hear God saying?

  3. Maybe one of the best ways to do right things in humility is to do them where nobody else can see them. If that is the case, then I can’t judge whether another is doing enough, giving enough, etc., since that person may be doing and giving in quiet. If I truly chew through this concept I know that gossip, slander, etc. are always misplaced, not just because God says those actions are wrong but also because it is truly difficult to know the motives and actions (or lack of actions) of the other without alot of investigation. And it can often be quite disrespectful to do alot of digging without that person’s permission. It’s best just to assume that others are doing what is right unless presented with incontrovertible evidence that what they are doing is wrong. Even then, I should be direct in admonishing that person, rather than talking about him/her all over the place. It takes courage to be direct and it also takes self control. If I feel that out of concern for that person I must find out more, then I must also directly confront that person. “Sideways”, indirect investigations are surely unkind. They are more like spying, I think.

    Doing good in the full view of where others can see it may be too much for some of us. If others can see what we do, then we may become selfishly ambitious. People who do well publicly and who are able to maintain humility are very special, I think, since they receive alot of thank yous and praise. It would be so easy for them to learn to rely on all of that. I want to follow and emulate those in the public view who remain humble. They have stood the test of receiving attention, and they must have a strong faith.

  4. The Message: vs.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.”
    – I love that!

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