Summary: We are not naturally inclined to pursue humility, and yet it is one of the greatest Biblical characterisitcs there is. How does God build this into our lives?
Passage: James 3:13-18
Intro: We all have a great example to follow, a man who lived the life described in v13.
1. this man is Jesus Christ.
2. his life was certainly a good one, full of deeds “done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
3. the great news is that, as James commands us to live this very kind of life, there are clear indications whether we are doing it or not.
4. so first we need to recognize how wisdom produces humility, and what exactly those two things are.
5. then we will look at the indicators in our lives, to see which path we are on.
6. the great news, of course, is that if we find ourselves on the wrong road, with God there is always the opportunity to repent, to turn away and turn towards.
I. How Wisdom and Understanding Produce Humility
1. here are two wonderful characteristics
2. wisdom=”the application of truth to my daily situation”
3. the Jews preferred to call it “skillful living”
4. but there needs to be truth that is understood and applied, and that’s where understanding comes in.
5. the word= the skill of a craftsman
6. carries the idea of the careful consideration of truth, and we could see the recognition of what truth is and what it is not.
7. from a Biblical perspective, understanding means to grasp the truth that God has revealed.
8. so how do these two characteristics produce humility?
9. simply, the Bible tells each of us that we are servants of God and one another.
10. so not only did Jesus tell us to be servants, he showed up how.
11. but in order for this to happen, God’s truth must penetrate so much that it will change our attitudes.
12. naturally, we want to be served, and not to serve.
13. the tyrant of self demands to be worshipped by others, and is hurt when it is not.
14. on the other hand, there is Jesus
15. so we need to begin by accepting God’s view of us, as servants of God and others.
16. and that will produce this wonderful quality of humility, of gentleness, of power under control.
17. so what does it look like?
II. What Humility Does Not Look Like
1. v14 contains some ugly words that are far too familiar to us.
2. “bitter envy”=pointed, sharp, prickly.
3. we know what that looks like, don’t we.
4. the sharp word, the sarcasm, the need to bring the one who is up down to where we are.
5. what has happened is that my self- image has taken a beating, perhaps in comparison to another.
6. and so if I cannot come up, I will bring the other person down.
Il) I believe we call this. “being a sore loser”
7. its running mate is this characteristic of “selfish ambition”
8. once again, our self recognizes that we are destined for the top!
9. and so we step on others all the way there, because certainly they recognize our superiority.
10. and when others do not recognize the facts, and treat us as if we were just normal humans, we get offended.
Il) While I was in Russia, I was invited to speak at a small country church. Because of a time change I was not aware of, I went to the wrong church; a big church. And I thought I had really arrived as a star in Russia. But then I discovered I was at the wrong church, and had to drive through the fields to the tiny church I had been asked to speak at.
11. God has wonderful ways of popping our pride balloon, but don’t expect it to be painless!
12. when our lives are manifesting envy and selfish ambition, we know we are on a very unspiritual path. V15
13. when we are acting according to our flesh, responding with our first natural response, we are probably on this path of the flesh.
14. and we can see it too in its effect on our relationships.
15. when a few people get this kind of thing going, war erupts!
16. home, church, work, anywhere there are relationships, selfish ambition and bitter envy will produce a battle royale!
17. so if there is trouble everywhere we are, it may be we bring it with us!
18. but there is another path
III. What Humility Looks Like
1. in contrast to the awful characteristics of v15, look at v17
2. “pure”=undefiled by selfishness
3. “”peace-loving”, because the humble person is not always protecting his “rights” as a human being.
4. “considerate”=courteous, “a gentleman/woman”
il) the considerate person is thinking of other people before himself.