Passage of the Day: James 3: 17 [ highlight verse - bold/underlined] … 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
My Journal for Today: For any who have been following or undertaking this study of the pursuit of Godly wisdom with me during November, you’ll remember that James, the author of our current study in James 3, began our discussion with a rhetorical question he asked in verse 13. He asked who, among his readers, is wise and understanding. Then he begins an answer with a general declaration that the truly wise person is one whose deeds and attitudes will reveal that person’s wisdom [which is a measure of his Christlikeness].
Today, in the highlight verse of James 3: 17, the author is more specific as to the qualities one would find in the Godly wise Christian; and if one reads/studies the list, he/she will find that it is an imposing one, for sure! I think of my oft used word picture of God’s word being a mirror of truth. And the reaction of the natural man when confronted by such a mirror, for example in James’ list in today’s passage, is to either rebel or run from the mirror, not wanting to see what is depicted. However, James is saying that the God-inspired Christian will desire to take what is revealed (i.e., the natural self) and turn himself into the supernatural image of Christ.
In the list presented in James 3: 17, we read that the Godly-wise Christian lives a life of Godly excellence [James 3: 13], where that one is found to be humble, pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy, filled with God’s fruit (see Gal. 5: 22, 23), totally unwavering, and completely without hypocrisy. Wow! What an inventory of values, attitudes, and lifestyle choices! And I don’t know about you; but I’ve got some growing to do as I inventory this list to become a Godly-wise Christian.
Having done an in-depth study of these qualities, even of the Greek terms for each value, I can say that having this list as a periodic viewing into God’s mirror of truth can be a bit painful; but it is a very productive exercise to promote Christian growth. But, we have to be willing to see who REALLY we are when compared with our Model, Who, of course, is Christ.
I strongly believe that God wants His own [i.e., the born-again Christian] to keep looking into God’s mirror of truth/faith (see 2nd Cor. 13: 5), at least periodically, to see where we stand and where we need to grow. That’s why using a self inventory like this one today or looking at another like Paul’s fruit of the Spirit (again see Gal. 5: 22, 23) periodically can be a productive way to let God’s conviction and direction move us closer to Him and so that we can follow Him more readily (see Prov. 3: 5, 6 and Luke 9: 23).
My Prayer Today: Lord, may my life reflect Your mind. Amen