Summary: Our faith in Jesus leads us to live at peace with those around us.

James 3:13-18

Grace mercy and peace are yours from God who gives you life and asks you to serve him with your life.

(James 3:13-18 NIV) "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."

Dear friends in Christ,

If you were to paint a picture titled “Peace” what would it look like? Perhaps it would be the picture of a quiet stream on a warm spring day or an infant sleeping on her mother’s shoulder. If you are a student of the Old Testament Scriptures maybe your thoughts would turn to Micah 4 where the Lord gives us a picture of heavenly peace with these words, (Micah 4:4 NIV) "Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken."

Isn’t this the day we are all waiting for – the day when God will come and remove us from this world of sadness and sin and bring us into everlasting peace and joy in heaven? Yes, that is the day, the day of peace that we earnestly seek. We know that our Lord will return and take us to be with him because he has worked faith in our hearts to trust in the message of peace and reconciliation with God through Christ.

What about today? How does Christian faith help us today? What effect does our Christian faith have on our attitude and actions? Today we look at the book of James and we will answer that question under this theme:

By Faith Bring Peace To Others

1. Resist the temptation to get even. (Verses 13-16)

Two weeks ago when we took our first look at the Book of James we studied the thought that runs through the book that faith without actions is dead. A person who by the grace of God has faith in their hearts will naturally show that faith by the good works they do out of love for Christ. This may sound cut and dry and easy to accomplish but as we look at our lives we know it is not. We are not only saints of God but at the same time on this earth we are sinners in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

The devil constantly seeks to destroy the right attitudes and actions that are fruits of our faith and build up in their place works of darkness and evil. A Christian must recognize the temptations of the devil and flee from them. James speaks to us about the temptation to get even with those who have wronged us.

Has anyone ever wronged you? Has anyone ever hurt your feelings, disappointed you, let you down when you needed them most? How did you handle it? The devil comes to you in those low moments and says to your heart, “That was mean and uncalled for what they did to you. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do to them?” With those simple words or thoughts the temptation to get even is laid before you.

James says “if you harbor bitter envy or selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.” When would we boast about bitter envy? How about when you are so angry with a person for getting away with something - that you know for sure you would never have gotten away with if you tried it - and so you are going to show the world how evil that person is by telling everyone how much better than them you are! Boasting in your goodness to put someone else down – that isn’t right. James says also, “don’t boast about selfish ambition.” What kind of ambition is selfish? Again, if someone wrongs you and all you can think about is revenge you have the selfish ambition of getting even. Instead of showing love and mercy to the person who has wronged you, you are out to make yourself look good. Instead of praying that they repent of their sin and seek God’s forgiveness, you pride yourself in your own goodness in the hopes that you will have the revenge in the end by looking better to the world than they do.

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