"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the widom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness". James 3:13-18
Sister Jòse shared this portion of scripture during biblestudy this morning in Osobampo. My immediate reaction was "WOW", followed quickly by an "OUCH" accompanied with a wince. God definately designed scripture to be poignant, this is no exception.
So very often I consider myself wise, so often I think I have understanding. How FOOLISH I am.... If I only knew how little I truly know, hehehehe. Any understanding, knowledge, or experience that is not of God is of ABSOLUTELY no use. Wisdom that comes from God is not made known through great discourses or writings. God's wisdom translates into actions, motives, and lifestyle.
"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice". vs. 16 If I were completely honest with myeslf about the motivation behind the things that I do I am sure I would be horrified. I easily do things when they will make me look good or make me feel good. How often do I really reach out to others for their benefit instead of my own? How often do I do the right thing simply because it's the right thing??? How often do I obey God's voice simply because I desire to worship and obey? Doing 'good' things is not hard. Doing good makes you feel good about yourself, and makes other think well of you. Many times my 'labors of love' are labors of selfishness............ So many times I reach out to others because it's benefits #1, me...................... God forgive me for the many times I have 'served' Him simply for self-gain. God forgive me for the many times I have done the right thing simply because somebody else was watching me.........
This scripture is really cutting me wide open.I feel so very foolish.
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere". Vs17
So, how often do I walk in the wisdom that comes from heaven??? Well, how often am I peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere???? That is a very impressive list. I tend to think that if I can express one of these attributes every day then I'm doing pretty good.... But all of them???? Yes, this is what it means to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. In the flesh I most certainly can produce NONE of these attributes. They are NOT in me. They are of CHRIST. If I want to bear this fruit than I must be connected to the vine (John 15). There is a huge diference between plugging in for a couple hours to charge our batteries and truly remaining in the vine.
" I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing". Vs. 5
The Lord has put a choice on the table before me. He is showing me a 'v' in the road. He is showing me another way. Choice #1:I can choose to 'plug-in' or 'touchbase' when I need a pick me up. Kind of like going to Starbucks and getting a Vente 'Americano' with an extra shot. This is a lifestyle. Do you know anybody that lives like this??? How many people go for 3 days straight before crashing into a 'coma-like' state for 24 hours? How many people do you know that refuse to go to the dentist only their teeth are completely rotted and falling out of their mouth? Maybe you are one of them, hahahaha. My point is, we can live our Christian lives the SAME WAY.
Choice #2: Abide in the vine. Abiding in the vine means having living water flowing in me and out of me constantly. There's no crash at the end of this 'pick me up' because it's not a temporary fix. IT IS A COMPLETE CHANGE OF HEART AND MIND. It's a turning upside down of our priorities.
Are you living off of spiritual 'pick me ups'? Are your running to Christ to 'plug-in' when your battery light is blinking? Are you seeking spiritual guidance only when you are confused and desperate. Has your Christianity become like the treatment of a modern day M.D.? In other words, are you pacifying yourself by temporarily calming the symptoms instead of curing the sickness? Jesus isn't meant to be used like a band-aid.......... He is supposed to be stearing the bike so that you don't fall in the first place. Jesus isn't just #911. He doesn't want to just be there to pick up the pieces.
Right now He is challenging me. He is challenging me to live abundantly in Christ. To be completely renewed and transformed. No more band-aids or extra shots of espresso. He wants me to DWELL IN HIM.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". Romans 12:2
Choosing to abide in Christ will be no 'walk in the park'. Abiding in Christ is not a 5 or 10 or even 45 minute exercise that you do every morning. Abiding in Christ is every moment of every day. Abiding in Christ is rain or shine, snow or sleet. Abiding in Christ isn't a shirt you wear, it's a re-arranging of your heart and mind. Abiding in Christ isn't a 5-year plan. Abiding in Christ is living and breathing heaven here on earth.
God help me, I want to live abundantly. I want my heart and mind to be rearranged, radically......