But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
James 3:17–18, ESV
Imagine a world where there’s total peace. What might it look like?
No war. Nature tamed. People generous and caring. Families united. Enemies reconciled. No viruses. Nothing to cause anxieties and fears.
What more could you add to that list?
The Apostle James presents a view of peace that begins with “wisdom from above” (3:17), and he rightly positions God as the Giver of peace. My list above describing a world at peace takes into account what we often want: an easier life here. If we read the earlier verses of James 3 we would see the true picture of the world and why we don’t have peace. Often we are guilty of or are victims of (according to James 3:16):
- Selfish ambition
- Every vile practice
That’s the description of the world we live in and populate. It describes much of our current scene regarding the coronavirus. There’s a disorienting “disorder” right now that stems from people admittedly fed-up with opinions and now wanting clarity from the dizzying and daily changing directions we seem to be hearing. It’s frustrating, I know. But our goal should not be to cut through the haze of opinions in order to be safe, to be right or even to be heard. The path God puts before us is to submit to Him again today, remembering what He has done to provide peace in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Peace is the settled reality that we are no longer at war with God, and peace is further the message that we now have the opportunity to spread to others. God Himself has established the terms of peace: human sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus alone (Col. 1:20). Peace is objective, meaning it is a settled reality based on God’s certain declaration that Christ’s sacrifice was enough to cover our rebellion and sin.
The Holy Spirit applies peace in our hearts as we submit to God and embrace His settled reality, and He sets us back on our mission to spread that peace to others.
Things to think about today:
- Am I motivated more by jealousy or selfish ambition, wanting to be heard, loved or even protected right now? If so, return to the Lord, confess that as sin, but remember that your position as a Christian is the settled reality of God’s peace. No present sin in your life can reverse the sovereign declaration of peace that God has made between Himself and His people.
- When do I feel most at peace? There’s no doubt that hikes in nature, working in a garden, rowing a kayak on a lake, or reading by a fireplace in a comfy chair are all times when you may experience a measure of peace. But remember, peace is not primarily a feeling or lack of trouble. It is the settled reality that we are not at war any longer with God. Meditate on what Jesus has done for you to give you peace. Think about how He demonstrated all His earthly life the wisdom that is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Abide in the Christ who is all those things to you.
- Where do I have opportunity to spread peace? Is there anyone you consciously avoid, particularly in the church? That may indicate a place to start. Ask God to give you wisdom to speak to people you need to approach. Remember that Jesus has already provided peace between you and God, and He will help you to spread that reality of peace to others.
- What if I can’t seem to help others reach a peaceful solution to problems? It’s a sad but true situation that some people will remain in their jealousy or selfish ambition. We can’t help everyone. But that’s why I’m grateful for Paul’s command in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Sometimes others won’t make it possible for peace. But you can go as far as you can, ready to forgive others, ready to receive them, willing to sacrifice much for them to repent and be right with God and you. But you are not a failure if you can’t convince someone else to live at peace with you or others. Just remember that God is the One who continues to work in all His people by His Spirit to spread the reality of His peace.
Listen to May the Peace of God to meditate more on the settled terms of the believer’s peace.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control