James 3:13-4:3, 8a
The Wisdom from Above
Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.
Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures.
Come near to God, and he will come near to you.
James is reminding a community to keep on God’s pathway. A good life is reflected in good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. Wisdom is also peaceful, gentle and friendly, compassionate and free from prejudice and hypocrisy. Have you met such beautiful people, whose shining face reflects a life devoted to God’s love, steeped in humility, lived out in peace and grace? James reminds us that you cannot harbor jealousy, bitterness or selfishness, nor ask for things that benefit you only, while living with the wisdom of God. Our true faith and immersion in God’s wisdom will change our whole way of loving, being, thinking and so, doing things in the everyday. We are to act as peacemakers and rejoice in planting seeds of faith and positive living for all, that will produce peace.
Adoration and Praise
At the dawning of each day, you welcome us.
During the sun’s long dance across our skies, you stay with us.
When the sun falls gently as the moon rises, you hold us closely,
so that we nestle into the care of the One who loves us deeply.
Peacemaker and soul-keeper, we thank you and praise your gracious love.
May every day, we grow in faith and understand your Wisdom in our lives.
Holy, holy, holy God.
Too long, Peacemaking Friend, we struggle to live in your Way.
Inside, we doubt, judge others, lack forgiveness and kindness.
We come to you in our dismay, for we long to live in your Wisdom.
Every day we seek simple ways to gain some quiet and stillness.
Yet this, O Friend, is no nearer to your peace-making way of being.
For the stillness is inaction and the quiet is simply noiseless.
We come to you in our disquiet, for we long to live in your Wisdom.
Peacemaking Friend, we come to you in humble prayer.
We admit our tendency towards poor choices,
based on self-focused outcomes.
We long to let go our ways of self-satisfaction,
and tune into your peace-filled presence deep within our souls.
We leave the clamor of malcontent and dissonance in our lives,
And turn to you with open hearts and hands.
Words of Assurance
Come near to God, for God is near.
Let go of self-centred ways of being,
and God’s Wisdom will unfold within your heart and soul.
Your thinking will open you to all that is in God’s Creation
and you will rejoice in living in the Way of Jesus.
Peace will be in you, surround you and uplift your being and living,
and you will share it with all whom you meet, wherever you are.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 23/09/2021
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