James 3:13-16 KJV
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Who can answer the question in verse 13 with a yes – please raise your hand. Now I’d be surprised if anybody really raise their hands but hopefully each of you think you have enough wisdom and enough knowledge to live a that shows good works carried out in a wise manner. This is what James is saying in this verse. I hope that each person reading this has enough wisdom to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
Let’s look at a couple words in this verse and their meaning. The first word I want to look at is conversation. This word conversation means lifestyle or behavior or conduct. It means the way we carry ourselves in our everyday lives. Not when we go out of our way to do something, but when it becomes natural to us. It’s often translated as conversation in the Old and New Testament. Psalm 37 14, 50-23, 2nd Corinthians 1:12, Ephesians 2:3 and Ephesians 4:22 are just a few examples a places where the word conversation means lifestyle or behavior.
When we come to a realization that God is concerned with our lifestyle at every point of the day, it starts to make a difference in our lives (hopefully). I see so many so-called Christians who think God is only concerned with the fact that they go to church. pay their tithers, help in the church and don’t kill anybody. That is why we see the church looking so much like the world in these days in the ares of divorce, adultery, sexual sin, greed, gossip and so many other areas. And because the church is acting that way, more and more people are abandoning the church. If we are not different, why bother coming!
Our “conversation” , our lifestyle, should reflect Christ everywhere we go. People should be able to just look at the way we liver and know that we are Christians. They should be able to hear they words we say and know we are Christians. if they walk into our house, they should know by what they see and hear that we are Christians. I have to humbly say that I can;t remember the last time someone asked me if I as a Christian! They just knew.
The second word is meekness. This word is often misunderstood. People understand it as a weakness. What the word meekness really means is gentleness or quiet strength. It is one of the fruit of the spirit and is used many times in the New Testament. 2nd Corinthians 10:1, Galatians 6:1, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:12, and 2nd Timothy 2:25 are all places where the word meekness is used. It is a premier quality in a person. In fact Jesus said blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth (Matt 5:5). Is a quality that I have striven for for all my Christian Life.
Meekness ties into humility. This quiet strength is a sign that God has our tongue under control. Jesus was the epitome of meekness. He did not have to scream for people to know He had the authority to saw the things He said. His teaching was accepted because He spoke with that meekness, that strength, that only God can give. Juts because a preacher shouts when preaching, it does not make him a great preacher. Meekness is what will make a great preacher! Hebrews says we can come boldly before the throne of God (Heb 4:16). We should also be bold in our witness for Him, and that takes meekness.
So we can see that James is telling us that we should walk all the time doing good deeds with a quiet reserve the displays wisdom on our part. That is what a Christian should be doing. We should not be going around with envy and strife in our hearts. That is not from God. That is an earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom and it brings confusion and evil works. What a stark contrast we see here between two very different kind of people.
First of all, envy should not be anywhere to be found in our life. The word says that the love we should have does not envy (! Cor 13:4-8). It also says that we should rejoice with people when they rejoice, not be envious of them (Rom 12:15). If someone gets a blessing, or has been given a promotion ahead of you, or has purchased the new car you were hooping to get, don’t get envious! Rejoice with them that they have been blessed!
Strife, to me, encompasses many things like gossip, backbiting complaining about other people, being argumentative, All of these things cause strife in other peoples lives. It is a prideful characteristic that so many people display in the world, and unfortunately also in the church. And it is one of the 6 things that God hates – sowing discord among the brethren (Prov 6:16-19). Do you really want to be involved in anything God hates?
As you examine your life, which of these things would you say is true for you? Do you envy what other people have? Do you envy when somebody receives something special? Do you sow discord between people whether Christian or not? Or are you building people up with your good works and good words? Are other able to tell you are a Christian by your actions in everyday life?
If your life is not where it should be in light of this lesson, today is a new beginning. Allow God to take away those things that are not pleasing to Him, and fill you with the fruit of meekness. Start to be more observant of the words you use and the actions you take everyday. You can walk in a conversation worthy of the Lord!