13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions [pleasures] are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 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. 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”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. [brothers and sisters] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
All of Chapter 3 in James is about not having what we typically think of the good life. Happiness. There is a great difference between what the world thinks of the good life and what God tells us. It is so easy to forget. Peace plays an enormous role in getting along. Not the brown nosing anything for peace variety, but the I-don't have-to-have-my-way-variety. Big difference. The you don't have to think I am so smart variety, because I am willing to listen.
Hard work for a talker.
Chapter 4 has more nuances - I read it and I am in the clear. I don't start fights, I am not huge about coveting. I feel like I receive. I am not adulterous. You see where we are headed with this? I,I,I, I and I. Wham. Selfishness. Thoughts centered on self. There it is. A lot of what I think about is myself. The truth is I'd like to buy the world a Coke. Because I am sure "I" would like it if I had more admiration. How am I distracted at Church? When I have a problem I can't solve or when I have a problem I just didn't deserve. Work it baby, chew that problem, you have the inner tools somewhere to solve that difficulty today. Work, work.
My 22 year son and I have had discussions on happiness. He is not finding college as fun as he matures. I worked so hard to make it about self-respect because College Seniors don't want to hear all the God talk from Mom. Especially when they've taken a lot of philosophy classes. God called us to be salt - and salt is sprinkled graciously if we are going to have it consumed. But in truth, self-respect does help for giving kindness, mercy, walking humbly with the Lord. But the main aspect for happiness, one we forget when bogged down, is to .... look up. We have a great opportunity.... to put down our burdens... and focus on One who is Righteous.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Forever with God. What is important. Amen.