I want to be wise, but I am not. I want to be perfect, but sadly, I am not. I want to be beautiful, but I am not. I want to be truthful, but I am not. Oh how I wish that I would stop lying to myself above all! Have you ever felt that way too? I am an imperfect Christian who wishes I was more than I am and wishes that I was as good as I sometimes think that I am! Let me tell you about my struggle. My house is a beautiful house and it should be clean, but it isn’t. I have piles of notebooks and papers in one corner and a pile of sewing stuff in another corner. My kitchen counters are cluttered to the point of distraction and if I am honest I haven’t vacuumed in a month! I did dust this morning but only because I couldn’t stand it any longer! My windows need washed and I just look at them and think how dirty they are. I seem to be a lazy woman, far from the woman I long to be or even than I used to be! It wasn’t all that long ago that I had a nearly spotless house. Everything sparkled, but for the past ten years I have been gravely remiss in my household chores. Most days I think I do a great job if I get the dirty dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher. Why am I so lazy? I would rather sit here and write blogs about interesting subjects in the Bible than I would to clean my house. Speaking of which, I want to share with you something I was reading this morning.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18, New American Standard Bible 1977 or NASB 77).
I want to be wise, who doesn’t? So how do I become wise and gain understanding? If I read this correctly I have to do some work on my attitudes and behaviors in order to show my wisdom. Is that how you read it too? Peacemakers are wise. I love to be around people who are peaceful because they seem to have a joy about them that nothing seems to ruffle. My Great-Aunt Mabel was like that. She loved to laugh and she did her chores with an attitude that was always uplifting. I want to be like her. My Great-Grandmother had a joyful attitude also and I loved to be around her. I don’t think I ever saw her angry. My Grandma also had a very peaceful and uplifting attitude too. Nothing was ever too much for her, she would sweat but she never complained about it. I saw her many times cook for a crowd and never once did she act like it was a burden. I want to be that kind of woman, one who never complains. To be honest about it, the women I have mentioned had a lot they could have complained about. After all they cooked before microwaves were invented. They would have thought that an electric dishwasher was a miracle. And they would have loved to have had large mega grocery stores to shop in. Their idea of a quick meal was Campbell’s Soup and crackers! My idea of a quick meal is take-out! What was different about these women and me? I think this passage from James sums it up pretty well.
The three women I mentioned never had a jealous bone in their body! I never heard any of them say that they wished they had what their neighbor had. I did hear them say that they thought some of their neighbors were heading for financial trouble because they were spending too much money on things they didn’t really need. They worried about their family and friends and took their worry to God in prayer often. These three women were not jealous nor were they bitter nor were they selfish. In fact I found these three women to always be generous. I loved going to their homes because I knew that I could always leave well fed and often was sent home with extra food. These three women would bake cookies with the expectation that someone would drop in for a cup of coffee and a visit. They would plant an extra row of beans or hill of cucumbers just so they could send fresh garden produce home with people who dropped in for a visit. They canned homemade jellies and pickles with the same thought in mind, to share with others. I never think anyone will drop in and if someone actually does come to my house to see me I might make them a cup of tea but seldom have cookies to offer them. In no way could anyone consider these women as hypocrites, no, they lived authentic and loving lives filled with integrity and peace. I miss them dearly and I long to be like them. We have so many in our world who think only of themselves and what they want always comes first. I don’t want to be that type of woman.
Who among you is wise and understanding? I want to answer this calling and be this type of woman. Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. Okay, this gives me a purpose and a hope that I can become the woman I want to become, that I have always wanted to be. My attitude has to change first and then a change in behavior will follow; what attitude should I have? But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. Get rid of jealousy and selfish ambition, check! Stop being arrogant and thinking that you are better than anyone else, check! Stop lying to yourself and to others, check! Stop following the wisdom of the world, happiness is not the goal, check! If you are content with what God has given you then you won’t be jealous or succumb to selfish ambition and disorder will become order in your life and in your house! Check! But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. Godly wisdom comes from a pure heart, a peaceful heart, a gently attitude, being reasonable and not unreasonable, giving abundantly others mercy and along with mercy sprinkle on them some good stuff like love and kindness and cookies and jam and homemade bread and whatever you have to give. God will supply the increase if you give yours away! And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Planting seeds of kindness is the fruit I loved from the women I mentioned and so will others feel that way when I pass on what I have learned from Great-Aunt Mabel, Great-Grandma, and Grandma! Love it! Okay, I will stop writing and go clean!