Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a (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.
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
It seems everywhere we turn there is more bickering and quarrelling. We certainly live in polarizing times. But rather than point fingers may I offer a suggestion? What if we closed our eyes, took a deep breath, and allowed the Spirit of God to examine the wisdom we have and the wisdom we seek? Are we envious or selfish? Are we boastful or false to the truth? The answer is yes… I know, not a great answer for us people of faith. Yet, it is true.
In the midst of life and discipleship for people of faith, we on all sides are convicted by the truths we have come to know. Conviction can be a good thing. Unfortunately, our fallen-ness can lead us to become envious, selfish, boastful and false to truth “because of our convictions.” So often, we can grip the truth we believe we harness so tightly, we choke the very life out of it. We need to stand by our convictions, but we also need to do so humbly, with this truth in mind—“God is the ultimate truth.” We are simply on a journey to know God, walk with God, and love God and our neighbor. So, as we stop, close our eyes, and breathe deeply—may see seek wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. May we draw near to God and to one another. In doing so, I believe God will draw near to us.
Creator God, it is you in whom we live, move, and have our being. Help us to close our eyes, take a deep breath and allow your Spirit to search our hearts and minds. May we follow your Spirit’s leading. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.