Steadfast – Week 5

Steadfast Wisdom: A Harvest of Righteousness (pages 125-156)
James 3:13-4:12

We are in a season in our culture where we all could use wisdom to navigate our life decisions as well as how we care for people and represent Christ.

Abby covered the beginning of James chapter 3 for us last week, where James opened with talking about the words that teachers should use. James is still talking to teachers but we are all teachers as influencers of someone. We should take note of what he says.

If I boil today’s passage down, I see it as he is telling us we have 2 choices in how we can arise and live. We can live on the earthly wisdom we find or the wisdom from above. Like earlier in James, Courtney points out what comes from above is from the Father and it is good. That is a preview of what choice she thinks we should make.

If you look at choice one – live by earthly wisdom it is going to be a way many people will admire. The World will look at you and say: “You do you. Do what makes you happy. Follow your heart.” I’m sure you’ve heard those and more. The problem is they leave you and your sinful motives as the guide for your life. When we look at James 3:16 “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” When we are following earthly wisdom is it powered by selfish ambition and bitter jealousy and where those things are you will find every evil thing. When we look at those who are popular or those who stand out in our culture this day – celebrity or politician – the world is lifting them up as an example to live by. They may have what they want and a successful career but look at their relationships… so many of them are broken.

When we are driven by our selfish ambition that will collide with other’s selfish ambition and that leads to quarrels and broken relationships.

Their lives are surround in chaos, they have legal battles, and its like they collect evil things (addictions, sexual immorality, crime, etc). They glorify and encourage others to sin. At times on award shows we have artists do provocative performances and they are lifted up as examples to follow – and as believers we ask: What?!. But they are being driven by something selfish inside to do what they what, when they want, and have no one speak against it.
My friends, when someone in the world is being lifted up as an example to follow I want you to be leary of that. “Are they using heavenly wisdom or they being driven by selfish ambition and bring all and every evil thing to themselves.

Clearly this way of living is not what teachers or believers are called to Arise and live like. Sadly, we often get trapped by earthly wisdom but there’s another choice. I love when Breanne shares with us that when reads the Bible she looks for certain things…Who God is, who He says she is…there’s a few others but the point is that by sharing that with us she is sharing a method to read scripture. As we dive into our second choice (thank goodness!). I want to walk you through another method of how to study the Bible. I will use the SPECK method. We can’t go through the entire passage but we will hit some points to focus on how to use this method.


James 3:13 “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”

  • Pride and boasting
    • We aren’t to let people know we are wise by pridefully announcing it. Our actions should show our true understanding and wisdom through our good conduct and good works. But those works should not be done with boasting but in meekness.
    • Meekness – Courtney defines this on page 134 – is strength reigned in, under control, and willingly submissive. It’s not the absence of strength, but the proper restraint of it.
    • Our boasting often points to our weakness of pride. There is strength to be submissive to do good works out of obedience to bring someone else glory and not ourselves.
  • Live a life of godly wisdom: void of pride and boasting.

James 4:4 “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

  • Being adulterous people/being friends with the world
    • Adulterous people – enemy of God – strong language
    • This is a rebuke using OT language- this also points to the type of relationship we have with God.
    • We are to be solely committed to him. We can not both be friends with God & the World- we see this a lot today…accepting worldliness and sin but still claiming God
    • It is like we are cheating on our relationship. Like I want my husband but I also want a boyfriend on the side. James is calling this thinking out.
    • We see today all the time when believers hold to God’s truth in one area but not accept it in other areas…it can’t be that way.

James 4:5 “Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?”

  • God yearns for a relationship with you. A deep longing.

James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

  • If you draw near to God, He will draw near to you.
    • He is like no other relationship we have.

If we are living wise these are the things that will show up: pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, good fruits, impartial & sincere

  • Pure: free from any sinful attitude or motive (earthly wisdom conflict since we know that isn’t pure motives)
  • Gentle: ‘sweet reasonableness’
    • It is the ability to extend to others the kindly consideration we would wish to receive ourselves.
    • When someone tries to correct me, do I respond with reasonableness and allowing wisdom to rule my reactions

James 4:9 “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

  • He isn’t telling us to be sad all the time but I want you to take sin seriously – be wretched and mourn and weep (over your sin)
  • Have a correct view of your sin.

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

  • Coming before the Lord humble we will receive the grace of God, the unmerited favor of God.
  • Humble yourselves before the Lord.
    • Our Posture before the Lord is a command not optional.
    • Humble manner. This is a promise and command.

God is the Lord of my life.

  • He is in Charge, not me.
  • My own methods will lead me to jealousy and selfishness.
  • Under His wisdom I will have an eternal perspective. I will step back and respond differently.
  • Full of purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, sincere and good fruits.
  • Be Humble before God so these things can come out of us.

So worldly wisdom had motives of selfish ambition and jealousy and harvests quarrels and every vile thing. Wisdom from above was void of pride and boasting, adultery in our relationship with God, living knowing our God desires a relationship with us and a true understanding of our sin that leads to humility. This wisdom sows purity, peace, gentleness and righteousness (to name a few things). The contrast could not be more different. We need to live lives based on heavenly wisdom.

So whats –

Therefore…submit yourself to God.

James 4:7 ”Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Where do you see yourself tempted to live according to earthly wisdom?

As I look at wisdom it is throwing out earthly wisdom and putting in godly wisdom. That takes time, patience, and humility. The earthly wisdom is easy to find. Godly wisdom I have to take in God’s word and be in right relationship with Him because most of the time this wisdom is contrary to the world. Which then, I can take the easy way which is to just do the opposite of the world. I am reading Hunger Games now because when it first came out the whole world was reading it so I chose not to. It was the opposite. It wasn’t godly wisdom necessarily. This can’t be the premise I live by. I need godly wisdom in which peace flows from not ignorance or passivity. Wisdom has action to it – ARISE. Not just avoiding the earthly things.

I have been rethinking about how the world teaches tit for tat or if someone treats you poorly you can treat them poorly. I will show partiality because of how someone treats me. This has been so alive in our world – partiality and racism. I was reading the book of John recently and the thing that stood out to me was the way Jesus treated Judas. He knew what the end result was and yet He lived and treated him well. Something James says that comes from a godly life is that we won’t show partiality. My definition of that has had to change. Do I treat others well or the same?

We are called to remember… what is something Courtney pointed out about wisdom that really stuck out to you and you want to remember?

Lisa: Day five she gave us three types of peace. Peace of God & peace with God are both gifted to you. The third was peace with others – this is a commandment. I want to follow this command to arise and be a peacemaker.

Lauren: Page 130, a person of wisdom will bring peace to a situation not chaos. For me when I go into situations, I want to bring peace and have that be a mark of me. Jesus used questions to draw people out but we use questions to stir things up and pick a fight. Let me be a question asker that brings peace and life.

This season I feel like my discernment-meter is broken. So, I am trying to assess as I look at leaders, are they trying to bring peace or trying to cause chaos?

What does steadfast wisdom mean?

Living wisely… which means humbly and meekly before the Lord. Truly understanding and recognizing His role and ours and being faithful to submit our lives daily under His lordship.

Links From This Week:

In This Week’s Video:

Lauren Soules
Lauren Soules
Lisa Lewis
Lisa Lewis