We can’t have peace among others if we don’t have peace within ourselves (v 1).
This makes total sense to me but it begs the question, “What would cause a lack of peace within?”
We all want peace. But how many of us would say that we currently feel internal peace? So – assuming some of you said “no” – the next question would be, “Why not?”
I took the first 5 verses and worked backward.
God placed his Spirit within us to worship him and he is jealous over it.
But our flesh desires friendship with the world.
This causes us to ask for things with selfish motives and then become bitter when we don’t receive them.
It also causes us to not ask for things of God and so we also do not receive those things which leaves us unfulfilled.
We are thus at war within ourselves – flesh vs Spirit.
No wonder we are at odds amongst ourselves if we’re all walking around bitter and unfulfilled. The result is quarrels and fights and anger and envy and speaking evil of one another (v 1,2,11). This isn’t any of us – of course – let’s just say that we all “have a friend” who could maybe relate. 😉
What is the solution?
God – give us a heart that only desires you. Give us a single mindedness that pursues the things that make for peace (Luke 19:42.) May we long for Christ more than comfort.
How do we know if we are listening to the right people? If we are getting our “wisdom” from the right place?
There are two types of wisdom listed here: worldly wisdom and godly wisdom.
WORLDLY WISDOM • bitter jealousy(v 14) • selfish ambition (v 14) • earthly (v 15) • unspiritual (v 15) • demonic (v 15) • disorder (v 16) • vile practices (v 16)
GODLY WISDOM • good conduct (v 13) • pure (v 17) • peaceable (v 17) • gentle (v 17) • open to reason (v 17) • full of mercy (v 17) • good fruit (v 17) • impartial (v 17) • sincere (v 17) • righteousness (v 18) • peace (v 18)
Now, that’s a whole lot of words but this is what stood out to me.
⭐️ Worldly wisdom leads to disorder (v 16).
Is the person/people/media source that I’m listening to fueling and feeding bitterness, jealousy, selfishness? If so – I’m heading down a path that isn’t spiritual and spirals into disorder.
⭐️ Godly wisdom leads to peace (v 18).
Is the person/people/source that I’m listening to fueling and feeding purity, gentleness, reasonableness, and mercy? If so – I’m heading down a path that leads to righteousness and peace.
It’s not always easy in the moment. Sometimes, we want to wallow in a little bitterness. We embrace jealousy and hold it right to our chest.
Wisdom looks beyond the moment and asks, “Where do I want to end up and is the current state of my heart going to take me there?”
“Listen,” James said. “We all stumble and only a perfect man never sins with his tongue.”
I love that James prefaced this passage with the acknowledgment that taming the tongue is something that none of us can ever do on our own. And, yet, that truth is in no way an out for us to say what we please and slap a “no one is perfect” bandaid on the wounds that result from it.
the tongue has great control over who we are and what we do (v 3-4)
the biggest misuse of the tongue stems from pride (v 5)
the tongue can cause great damage and devastation (v 5-6)
evil speech comes from the enemy and make us his mouthpiece (v 6)
we can’t tame our tongues apart from the intervention of the Holy Spirit (v 8 )
on our own, our tongues are restless evil and full of deadly poison (v 8 )
to claim Christ and worship God but then curse or speak evil of others makes us hypocrites (v 10)
👉 Leave an emoji below if you need a little Holy Spirit help taming the ol’ tongue!