Summary: Old Testament Isaiah and New Testament James agreed on the two principal ingredients of genuine, lasting personal peace -- Let Go; Let God
13If you are wise and understand God¡¦s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don¡¦t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! 14But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don¡¦t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. 15For jealousy and selfishness are not God¡¦s kind of wisdom.
Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. 16For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. 18And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. (New Living Translation)
Ambivalent ¡V how else can you feel about today¡¦s world? It is truly, the best of times; the worst of times. We live in an age of unparalleled prosperity, healthcare advances, and technology that keeps making you say, WOW!
And these are troubling times, despite all the good news. Among the more troubling, disturbing realities:
„Ñ Columbine High School ¡V and the dozens of copycat school shootings. The violence escalates.
„Ñ The alarming divorce rate. The gap widens.
„Ñ Incredible abuse of children. I thought the newscasts couldn¡¦t shock me anymore. Then I saw the coverage of the mother who allegedly drowned her five children.
It is difficult to overstate the need for personal peace in a world like ours. One wag said it this way:
If you want peace, confess your sins;
If you want war, confess someone else¡¦s.
Sometimes it seems as if peace in this lifetime is only a mirage.
There are those who would suggest different ways of dealing with the lack of personal peace;
„Ñ Drop out ¡V find an island somewhere so people can¡¦t hurt you.
„Ñ Drug up ¡V drink, snort, or pill-pop until you can¡¦t see the disturbances.
„Ñ Do first ¡V is the flip side of the ¡§Golden Rule¡¨ (Do unto others before they can do you any harm ¡V get those suckers!)
James says that kind of thinking is devilish, animal-like thinking. It is unwise at least, conniving at worst. To seek any kind of peace, absent of the wise and right choices guided from above, is only going to achieve an illusion.
Isaiah is an Old Testament counterpart of James suggests the way to real peace:
3You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4Trust in the LORD always,for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
Well, Old Testament Isaiah, and New Testament James agree on the two principal ingredients of genuine, lasting, personal peace ¡V Let Go; Let God!
James warns against holding on to the arch-enemy of peace ¡V bitterness. Bitterness is the one thing that is less held-onto, than holds-on-to-you, when you allow it to hang around. One minister put it this way, Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
(Ron McManus, PreachingToday.com)
Bitterness grows out of envy, or personal ambition, or personal hurt. It is that which will fester and kill any personal relationships.
A rabid dog bit a man. He went to the doctor and the doctor told him it was too late. He needed to prepare to meet his Maker. The doc went out of the room for a few moments, then returned to see the man writing on a long legal pad. I can help you find a lawyer if you need to make a will, said the doctor. Will? replied the man, I¡¦m making a list of the people I¡¦m gonna bite!
That¡¦s the thinking James said was devilish, or worldly. There¡¦s a lot of that today.
Some time ago I went through a TV guide and counted up how many daytime talk shows there were. You know what I am talking about, Oprah, Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, et al. I counted 23 separate such programs. That is one huge pile of worldly wisdom. But guess what? A lot of people (even Christians) subject themselves to a regular dosage of that garbage.
Another example. The World Wide Conference on Women in Beijing. Worldly wisdom poured forth. They told us there were now 5 genders, and that lesbianism might be the answer to many of the world¡¦s problems. "Okay," you might say, "It is obvious to see worldly wisdom in that." Yet so many believe and follow it. "Oh, but I don¡¦t" you say. "No. I know the difference."
For almost 30 years, psychiatrists and child psychologists have been in the foreground telling us how we should raise children. Many of their ideas have become immensely popular and the subject of countless best-seller books even among Christians. But yet, look around you at the children of America. Things have only gotten worse, and seem to be going down hill daily at an alarming rate. Worldly wisdom, but very attractive.