Wednesday, March 9, 2011

JAMES 3:16

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every practice." (NIV)

James, half-brother of Jesus, wrote this letter to his fellow believers, who were scattered in many areas and were having difficulties knowing what was the real truth.  (Sound familiar?) Like Jesus, James didn't mince words, Although frankness is often hard to hear at first, it is always better than half-truths, which leave the listener confused.

I hate confusion and disorder.  Apparently God doesn't care for these qualities, either!  Two of my favorite scriptures on this topic are found in Paul's writings to the Corinthians.  Years ago I wrote these scriptures in calligraphy as a reminder of the beauty of order and cleanliness... and, the resulting serenity:

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace."  (I Corinthians 14:33) KJV

"Let all things be done decently and in order."  (I Corinthians 14:40)  KJV

The cause of confusion and disorder is Satan.  I think Satan really enjoys seeing us befuddled, confounded, in turmoil.  But, we can't blame it all on ol' Satan;  no, we'd better be looking inward...  You see, this "3:16" begins with the phrase, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition..."  Uh, oh!  If my life is filled with disorder and confusion, I need to look at my attitudes and actions toward others.  Am I envious of others' talents or physical attributes or situations?  Even in the church setting, am I secretly hoping that someone will consider me the best Sunday School teacher?  The best choir member?  The best____________ (you fill in the blank). Do I want to serve God, or do I want to please people?  These are difficult questions; the type of questions the Holy Spirit wants us to ask ourselves.

The opposite of confusion is peace.  James writes about peace in the next verse, James 3:17, as below:
     "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."

And, an Old Testament scripture about peace:  " You will  keep perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You."  (Isaiah 26:3)

Let peace be the pillow that you rest your head on.

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