“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 3:16-4:3
In today’s Epistle Reading (James 3:11-4:6 is the complete text) we receive wise, challenging counsel from the Apostle James. It speaks to the root of conflict and disorder between people – how it often has some level of self-seeking, envy, or desire to control or have something we don’t have at its very core. It also begins to speak to the question of what true peace is – the freedom from having to have it “our way” – the faith to put others first and not hold on too tightly to what we think is ours by right.
Oh, to have the faith to truly trust that God will provide for my needs (not my wants, my needs) and that I need not anxiously strive after the things I think will bring me happiness, security, freedom – but which end up setting me against my brother to some degree.
May God grant us the willingness to truly ask in faith and receive in gratitude rather than just take in haste and defend in selfishness.