From above

You can just see Jesus in some people.

Folks who’ve been with the Lord for a while—really been with him—have a different spirit about them, it seems to me.

We’ve all been around the guy who argues just for the pure fun of it. He’s always mad at someone, always spoiling for a fight, always looking for an excuse to lose his temper.

That’s not Jesus.

Notice the contrast James makes in this passage. He says that jealousy and selfish ambition don’t come from heaven; instead, they’re “earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” On the other hand, here’s what following Christ brings:

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).

Purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, goodness, impartiality, sincerity, righteousness.

That’s what heaven produces in us, and that’s what we want, isn’t it? We all live in a world that doesn’t look much like that. God calls us to be pure in a world of filth. He wants us to be peaceful in a world of strife. He wants us to be gentle, merciful, and good in a world that doesn’t really value those qualities.

But we’ve got to keep trying. We’ve got to submit to the Spirit of God who shapes his children into his image. And the longer we walk with Christ, the more faithfully we follow him, the more we look like this “wisdom from above.”

Practically, here’s what it is.

It’s the woman who’s got strong convictions but expresses them with the spirit of Jesus. It’s the teenager who’s holding on to his purity in a world that thinks he’s old-fashioned. It’s the guy who helps the people around him live in peace . . . because he’s at peace. It’s the lady whose faith leads her to treat everyone with a spirit of kindness and respect.

That’s what wisdom from above looks like.

As long as we live in this fallen world, we’ll struggle with it, of course. But as best we can, we ought to bring as much of heaven to this struggling earth as we can.



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