"But the wisdom from above 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 the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness."
James 3:17-18 NLT
In this passage, James is laying out some characteristics of someone who is filled with “wisdom from above” (aka, the wisdom that comes from God). Someone who operates in this wisdom doesn’t act the way you’d expect an extremely wise person to act. I would expect someone with extreme wisdom to be kind of arrogant and “my way or the highway”, wouldn’t you? James turns that on its head here. He then goes on to talk about peacemakers planting seeds of peace that reap a harvest of righteousness. That basically means that as a peacemaker we are to operate in peace, affecting those around us as we interact with them and leaving “seeds” of that peace with them. Living this way leads to a righteous life, one that is justified and of right standing with God.
James is pretty cut and dry here. That makes it simple for us, but not necessarily easy. He says that if we’re living with wisdom from above our thoughts should be pure. We should love and desire peace. We should be gentle at ALL times, not just when we feel like it. And - here’s the kicker - we should be willing to yield to others. That means that being right should not be our concern. We should desire peace more than we desire getting our way. James also says we should be filled with mercy and the fruit of good deeds.
I know what you’re thinking, this is A LOT. You’re not wrong. It is a lot. But there’s comfort and hope in knowing we don’t have to do it alone. We’d never be able to be all of these things by ourselves. We need the Holy Spirit to work in and through us and transform us into these kinds of people who operate out of “the wisdom from above”. Take some time today and focus on one or two of these characteristics that James lists. Ask God to come and transform you into that person. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.
God, thank you that you give us the gift of scripture. Thank you that you gave us the gift of salvation and abundant life. I ask that you would transform us into a people who look like you. Wherever you want to start, God. We are ready. Amen.