The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:17-18 NLT
Many churches observe that they have very few people in their 20s and 30s. Whenever I’ve asked people in that age group what they are looking for, one theme dominates – authenticity. They are looking for Christians and churches which practise what they preach. James was on exactly the same page and is ruthless in addressing those who say the right words but live a phoney life. What he longed for was truly wise people.
Living wisely is attractive in every way. The wisdom comes directly from God but it has very down to earth implications. James draws particular attention to the fact that wise people love peace and go out of their way to make it. You will never find a wise person trumpeting their wisdom. They just get on with doing God’s work, and God is always in the business of drawing people into the fullest experience of his peace.
The word for peace that James uses here is built on the Hebrew word shalom. Shalom means peace but much more than merely an absence of conflict and tension. It means the presence of God who brings life and renewal to every part of our lives. He wants us to know his peace in our families, our work, our leisure, our churches and our communities – everywhere. And when God fills you with his peace he commissions you and me to be peacemakers. James concludes that peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. I love the word righteousness because it literally means everything that is right, everything that is in step with God, everything that will bless our lives and those around us. Wow! What James is describing is complete authenticity – and that’s attractive to everyone.
In what situation could you be a peace maker today?
Thank you, Lord, that you sent Jesus into the world to be our peace. Give me a longing to be a peacemaker today and the wisdom and strength to be nothing less. Amen.