Summary: BIG IDEA: Walking with God means walking His way, for His pleasure, by His power.

“Walking With God in Wisdom”

James 3:13—4:10

INTRODUCTION: One theme that runs throughout the Star Wars movies is the temptation to give in to the Dark Side of the Force. The Dark Side is seductive, for it appeals to our desires. The Good Side involves self-denial, discipline, sacrifice. The Dark Side promises power, self-actualization, fulfillment.

We face similar decisions every day—will we go God’s way or the world’s way? And though our decisions don’t appear to have the fate of galaxies hanging in the balance, don’t be fooled. The way we choose to go is fraught with eternal significance, and it is vital that we understand and recognize this. James explains to us that if we want to walk with God, we have to walk His way.

[READ 3:13-18]

I. Walking with God means walking His way (13-18)

A. James contrasts two kinds of wisdom: the wisdom that comes from God and the so-called “wisdom” of the world. One is true and one is false. Every day we have to choose between God’s way or some other way, and there is no mixing the two.

1. If you add a spoonful of sewage to a bottle of wine, you get sewage. And if you add a bottle of wine to a barrelful of sewage, you get sewage.

2. You can’t mix the Good Side with the Dark Side—one or the other

3. West African proverb: "The man who tries to walk two roads will split his pants."

>>For each of the two kinds of wisdom, keep in mind how its characteristics flow from its source, and how its actions flow from its characteristics:

B. False wisdom (15-16)

1. The “wisdom” that shows itself in jealousy and selfish ambition is earthly, unspiritual, even devilish (15).

2. James justifies his harsh verdict on false wisdom by describing the effects it produces (16). Selfish and egocentric attitudes inevitably lead to disorder and every vile practice.

C. True wisdom (13, 17-18)

1. True wisdom comes only from God. That is why it can be had only by asking God (1:5).

2. James has described what wisdom from above is not (15); now in v.17 he tells us what it is, or more properly, he tells us what effects divine wisdom should produce.

a. It is pure

b. It is peace loving

c. It is gentle

d. It yields to others

e. It is full of mercy

f. It produces good deeds

g. It shows no partiality

h. It is always sincere

i. It yields a harvest of goodness

D. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line dividing good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart.”

>>But James goes on to show that it isn’t just which way we go, but our motives for choosing which way to go that will make or break us

[READ 4:1-6]

II. We walk His way for His pleasure (1-6)

A. In the Star Wars mythology, the "Sith" are the Dark Side Jedi equivalents. They are very powerful and quite villainous. But, unlike the Jedi, there can only be 2 Sith at a time, because they are constantly warring with each other for power.

B. Bradford Cohen, a contestant on Donald Trump’s TV reality show The Apprentice, turned down his exemption from getting dismissed from the show. He did this as a gesture of support for his team leader, assuming his performance would protect him from hearing the dreaded words, "You’re fired." He was mistaken. Accused by Trump of making a stupid mistake, Bradford was sent packing. Although it might be shocking to some, Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard, of the Simmons School of Management, said the episode accurately reflected the highly competitive nature of the business world. "The message of The Apprentice is that to the extent that you look out for yourself above all else, you will be rewarded. In that sense, the show is a microcosm of the real world. Organizations talk about teamwork, but few of them promote it. They promote the star."

C. We do not know what the quarrels and fights that James refers to were about. But he seems to be bothered more by the selfish spirit and bitterness of the quarrels than by the rights and wrongs of the various viewpoints.

1. “What is the source of these quarrels?” he asks. “The evil desires at war within you.”

2. These arguments and conflicts that were disrupting the church could not be ascribed to righteous passion or justifiable zeal. Selfish, indulgent desire was the culprit.

D. On Sunday, June 13, 2004, Matt Starr was at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, watching the home team Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals. When a foul ball was hit toward where he was sitting, the 28-year-old landscaper leapt over the seat in front of him. Even though the ball had landed at the feet of 4-year-old Nicholas O’Brien, Starr knocked the boy against the seats and pounced on the ball. The boy’s mother, insulted by the aggressive behavior, swatted him with her program, while fans chanted, "Give the boy the ball." But, clutching the ball to himself, Starr returned to his seat unwilling to part with his new souvenir.

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