Summary: Do you live according to God’s will or the world’s ways? This message helps us know the difference.
James 3:13-17 " Two Ways To Live"
By Pastor Mark Hiehle
Do you live your life with certainty or with confusion? Are you sure of what is right and what is wrong? Is there anything today that does not change?
Instead of black and white, does everything seem gray and is the line of
distinction blurred? For some, maybe you today, this describes your life. There is a constant question of how to live your life because nothing is
consistent or "feels right." Life is constantly changing, with no absolutes to guide you.
Are there really absolutes? Truths that never change? Markers that are firm, solid and stable? The answer is "yes." There are absolutes that are reliable and never change. Truth that you can count on. Where do you find such truth that stands the test of time, technology and tumultuous life? In a book that has never, and will never be proven false or flawed, for the author is God. Within His Word, the Bible, all we need to know of God, life and eternity is disclosed. Truth, from the creator of life and the life to come. What are some of the trues found in His Word that are markers for guiding our lives today? Consider just a few:
God never changes and His love is forever
God does not want anyone to perish
People are free to choose or reject God’s love
Sin always has a price which must be paid
Jesus died to take away your sin
There are just two kinds of people - those who are saved from their sin or
those still in their sin
There are just two ways to live - by God’s wisdom or
by the world’s wisdom
With these trues, there is no room to sit on the fence. You can not straddle the line with one foot on both sides. Those are absolutes that you and I have to make a choice concerning and if we say we don’t want to choose, we have already made a choice. How do you live your life - by God’s wisdom or the World’s wisdom?
James begins to deal with how to live our lives by asking the question, "Who is wise and understanding among you?" No one wants to be seen as foolish or unwise. We all want to be perceived as intelligent and "in the know." James tells us that there are two kinds of wisdom. Wisdom that comes from God and wisdom that comes from the world. How can you tell the difference? By the fruit that is evidenced. Those that follow the mind of the world and apply its wisdom to their lives, experience bitter envy, strife, selfish ambition, discord and pride. Throughout the Bible we are admonished to not stand in judgement over one another as a judge but we are to be careful observers, as fruit inspectors. Jesus instructed his disciples that false teachers would be known by the fruit they produce, so be very observant (Matt 7:15-23). We see the result of worldly wisdom in the newspapers everyday. War, murder, abuse, injustice, stealing, lying, conflict, divorce, crime and every evil imaginable. All of these deeds were done with someone thinking they were justified in their behavior. I just heard this week a politician defend himself by saying that what He said was not false by how he defined the term false. Since when are we allowed to define the meaning of words by our own standards? But, that is where we are at today. Words are redefined for personal advantage and the world buys into it. Selfish, sensual and of the devil, that is the worlds wisdom.
What is Godly wisdom like? James gives us eight characteristics of the fruit of godly wisdom. First of all it is Pure. Pure in motive, clean and unblemished. It is not by accident that James says "first" of all, pure. Without purity, the other seven characteristics are unattainable. In order to start with purity, there must be a cleansing. Scripture states that our finest deeds done apart from God, are nothing more than filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). We must be cleansed, just as Isaiah’s lips were touched by the hot coal from the alter and as the disciple’s feet were washed by Jesus. God’s wisdom will only come to us if we are clean vessels which He can fill. Yes, God uses cracked pots but they are clean pots for they have been washed by the blood of Jesus and by the washing of the Word.
Next, peace loving is mentioned by James. There are two kinds of peace and both are referred to here. Just as the cross is the symbol of that which paid the price for our freedom from sin, it enables us to have peace with God and peace with others. The vertical beam of the cross points to heaven. As Jesus died on the cross he made it possible for us to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. The horizontal beam reaches out to others and so by the grace provided to us through the cross, we can forgive and have relationships with others based upon the peace we have with God.