James 3: 13 – 18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbour 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, demonic. 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 reap a harvest of righteousness.
The whole image of sowing and reaping is so[powerful. It is something that crops up in all areas of life: relationships, finances, personal care…and probably a lot of other things. In the time I have used to reflect on keeping my peace and getting closer to God, the truth of sowing and reaping crops up again and again. I read the verses above and was struck by the words: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” I then thought about projects I had started that had an honourable cause and benefits for the people. I then thought about lessons I had learned from things that had gone well and what had not gone so well. Guess what I found? Where my own selfish ambition and need to have things done my way or the highway…at these times things fell apart. There was disorder. However when I was pure in intent and listened to the direction of God, the power was in the peace and the projects had powerful outcomes.
I am learning that it ios so true that nothing can be hidden from God. So when I start seeing things in my world turning upside down and panic and worry setting in…Instead of lashing out and looking for people to blame (my default reaction), I am learning to take some quiet time before God to ask Him to show me things the way He sees them. It is amazing how God is showing me things about myself that as I change are just making my life (and the people around me) so much easier.
Just an example of something God has shown me: my reluctance to listen to people and constantly prove my point, is pride. Pride says I am better than you. I used to think that I had delay with the whole pride thing just because I had stopped thinking of anyone as ‘less’ than me in anyway. But God showed me that it is a lot more than that. Listening is a powerful tool. To not respect and love someone enough to really hear what they are saying, is a form of pride. I am now making a conscious effort to really understand people before I go in with full force trying to get them to understand me.
There is so much strife in point scoring, having the last word and being the ‘know it all’. I value my peace with God, myself and others more.