Practicing Peace-James 3:13-18

James 3:13-18 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.”
Giacomo 3:13-18 13 Chi fra voi è saggio e intelligente? Mostri con la buona condotta le sue opere compiute con mansuetudine e saggezza. 14 Ma se avete nel vostro cuore amara gelosia e spirito di contesa, non vi vantate e non mentite contro la verità.15 Questa non è la saggezza che scende dall’alto; ma è terrena, naturale e diabolica. 16 Infatti dove c’è invidia e contesa, c’è disordine e ogni cattiva azione. 17 La saggezza che viene dall’alto, anzitutto è pura; poi pacifica, mite, conciliante, piena di misericordia e di buoni frutti, imparziale, senza ipocrisia. 18 Il frutto della giustizia si semina nella pace per coloro che si adoperano per la pace.
     James begins by asking a rhetorical question: “Who is wise and understanding among you?” ‘Wise’ describes someone who knows how to handle the practical things in life. ‘Understanding’ is the ability of someone to perceive how to comprehend life. In both of these, James is referring to the way a Christian should live out their spiritual lives: in humility (without boasting) and in selfless glory (not looking for the spotlight or having jealousy toward those who do. When these virtues are not present, division and disunity will prevail.
     He then lays out a simple plan of heavenly wisdom to help keep us in the ‘good life’ (v. 13). These eight things are James’ version of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Many of these are similar to Galatians but James, as the pastor of the Jerusalem church, adds some other practical qualities: purity as the basis, submissiveness (respecting God’s order), impartiality (respecting each other) and sincerity (without hypocrisy).  
     In order to receive ‘a harvest of righteousness’ (maturity), let us sow seeds of peace that give wisdom and understanding by practicing the peacemaking skills of acting wisely and thinking carefully before we speak.
Pray with me: Lord, I know that I need to grow in wisdom and understanding that comes from You alone. Help me to practice Your presence in my life through my words and deeds.

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