Bearing God Fruit
Verse 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Yesterday we started talking about the list that James gave his readers as proof of God’s wisdom in a person’s life. We talked about purity, being peaceable and being considerate. Let’s continue down the list.
We pick up the list in the middle with submission. This is not talking about a woman submitting to her husband, this is us submitting to God and therefore deferring our desires to another. It is making the choice that the other person is important enough to us that we will let them have their way. Of course this is not about letting someone abuse us. The truth is this is a way that the world will see Christ in us faster than other qualities of wisdom that we may live. The wisdom of the world is about looking out for ourselves, but godly wisdom is looking out for God’s interests and that means caring more about others than we do ourselves.
Next we look at full of mercy. Not many of us see mercy as one of our most predominant characteristics. But James wasn’t saying moderate mercy was what he was looking for, he saw the need for being full of mercy. He was telling his readers of all time that we are not to be stingy when showing others love in response to their needs. These acts of loving mercy are to be done in unexpected ways including in forgiveness. We are to be known as a people of God-like love.
We are also to be bearing good fruit which often reveals itself in two ways the first of which is being impartial. This is one of the hardest things for us to live out in our lives. We so easily find ourselves giving better treatment to those that we really like and then giving subpar treatment of those we don’t. Of course we find ways to justify it by saying that the people we like have better qualities and deserve our best but the truth is we are living in the way of the world when we do this.
The second way that good fruit is revealed in our lives is the sincerity in which we live. God is absolute truth. For us to live in any substandard way is to being living more like the world then we are living like Him. It means living without deception, fraud or deceit. Through this pure way of imitating the Father, we can show Him to all we come into contact with.
Making It Personal
How would you rate yourself in submission? Would you consider yourself as someone who is merciful? Do you struggle with impartiality? Is sincerity something you are known for?
Making It Personal Kids
How easy is it to let someone else have first chance at something you want? Is it hard to treat everyone the same? Do you struggle with being honest all the time?
Father, these are all traits that You exemplify for us moment by moment and yet in our human weakness we struggle with them just as often. Please strengthen us to live as reflections of You. In Jesus’ name, amen.