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.