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. James 3:17-18
This morning it is my turn to lead the conversation in the Saturday men’s Bible study here at WFPC. But it’s going to be less “lead” and more “set the table.” Then I simply join in the feasting with everyone else.
This passage (beginning at James 3:13) contrasts the kind of day-to-day conventional-wisdom that defines much of life on earth with the “wisdom from above.”
I find this very timely for me personally because I am in a self-evaluative mode for the 40-days of Lent and I seriously want to immerse myself in the wisdom from above. My goal – lofty as it sounds – is to be the kind of person who models and shares the God kind of wisdom as a matter of course; I want this blog to be a reliable resource for those who are beginning to understand that the wisdom from above is exactly what we all need.
The other reason this is a timely conversation is how markedly this passage contrasts with all the discordant noise coming from the politicians, from the pundits, from the religious self-righteous, from the angry mob.
Let’s break this down:
- The wisdom from above is first pure…
- then peaceable…
- willing to yield…
- full of mercy and good fruits…
- without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
- And – in consequence – a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
“The word of the Lord.”
In our Bible study we want to be directed by the scriptures, grow as people of faith, and discover how our identity as Christian men (and practice of being Christian men) can effect actual positive change in the world we inhabit.
It is hard not to read a passage such as this one and then look around in sweeping judgment. But that is not what we are called to do. We are called to follow Jesus in peace, full of mercy and without a trace of hypocrisy.
And I have this theory. I believe that to the extent those of us who claim to follow Jesus commit to actually live this kind of peaceable, gentle, merciful witness to light and to love then we will sow a harvest of righteousness.
What the world needs now – most definitely – is a harvest of righteousness. Sounds like a good 40-day Lenten plan – DEREK
PS – The conversation turned out to be helpful enough that I’m going to have to follow up with another post.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.