Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
James 3:13-18 (NRSV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
I once read a newspaper article that posed the question, “Which would you rather be: rich, powerful, or influential?” As I read the article, I thought the writer had failed to include what I believed was more desirable than the three qualities he listed. Given the options of wealth, power, or influence, I would opt for a fourth option: wisdom.
Wisdom involves discernment—recognizing what is true or right coupled with good judgment. Now that’s a quality I could really use! Sometimes I find myself wrestling with questions that have no good answers—or too many good answers. I hear opposite opinions of an issue and find myself straddling the fence, unable to decide what I think is right. Other times I struggle with what my father calls “hard-headedness,” so convinced that my way is the right way that I am unwilling to consider other ideas. Then there are the times I make emotionally-driven decisions that have less to do with what’s right and more to do with what’s right for me.
James makes it clear that true wisdom is given by God, “pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” Wisdom is a gift from God, but we have to be open to receive it. I suppose being open to wisdom from God is the truest demonstration of wisdom.
Our God, giver of all good gifts, we recognize we have not lived out the wisdom that leads to righteousness. Forgive us when we are self-centered or arrogant, more concerned about our own ambitions and desires than the truth. Show us your ways and bring us to the wisdom that is sown in peace. It is in your son’s name we ask. Amen.”
Go with God.