We are living in some of the most polarized times in history. Yet, at this particular moment in history, God has appointed you to be alive. His plan and purpose are that you advertise His love and wisdom to the world. So, how are you doing at fulfilling your life calling?
I read these verses in the book of James this morning, “If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful fruitful life guided by wisdom’s gentleness” (James 3:13 The Passion Translation). I honestly don’t know how many of us consider ourselves wise, but we do consider ourselves followers of Jesus. Those who have given their lives to Christ. We are called to advertise this gospel to the world around us, but sometimes I fear we’ve lost our purpose. Some of us have chosen to advertise a political party over Christ. Some of us have exalted our opinions over the truth of wisdom found in scripture. I fear that we’ve lost our focus.
The wisdom that comes from God has several distinguishing qualities: gentleness, purity, and peace. It’s considerate and not argumentative. It’s honoring and not demeaning. It’s pure and not defiled by ambition. It’s pure and not defiled by mixed motives.
With the upcoming election right around the corner, the question is how should we, as followers of Jesus, handle ourselves? How do we live out our faith in this caustic, polarized culture? In other words, how do we want to show up?
James 3 gives us some answers. We need to show up,
Gentle (James 3:13). If the Holy Spirit has filled you, gentleness will flow out of your life (Galatians 5:22-23). Think about how you want to be remembered after you die. Do you want to be known as a person who lost their temper or was filled with harsh sarcasm? Or do you want to be known as one who was gentle and respectful of others? How you want to be known then impacts the choices you make now.
Considerate (James 3:17). To be considerate means to show kindness and respect for another person’s feelings. There are a lot of opinions out there right now, and you might disagree with many of them. The question is, can you be considerate as you disagree? In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote that we are to “value others” (Philippians 2:3). When we value others, we are considerate of their opinions even when their opinions differ from ours.
Peaceful (James 3:17). When the Prince of peace rules your heart, your attitude will be calm. When you enter a conversation with a friend and the subject turns to politics, keep your Spirit in sync with the Holy Spirit. Stay calm.
Honoring (James 3:17). James writes that godly wisdom “never displays prejudice.” Right now, we have an entire segment of our culture that has been deeply wounded by prejudice for years. Friend, prejudice is an abomination to God. Love and embrace cultural differences. In heaven, you will worship shoulder to shoulder with different races. Don’t let even a hint of prejudice be found in your heart. A great idea would be to contact your friends of color and ask them how they feel during all the recent events. This is a wonderful opportunity for the church to rise up and listen with humility. Don’t miss the opportunity.