After a long weekend, it can be good to push the reset button and breathe in words of encouragement as you start your next week. To help, here’s a message from Pastor Daniel Blaylock of Forest Hill Church of God in Mobile, Alabama, as we continue with our Southern Cancer Center inspirational “Bread Bite” series.
Today’s verse comes from James 3:13. “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom.”
The book of James is sort of like the New Testament’s version of the book of Proverbs found in the Old Testament. Unlike the books written by Paul, James doesn’t spend a long time on deep theology; he just cuts to the chase. This verse definitely does that! In the Bible, “wisdom” refers to “spiritual good sense”. It’s common sense with a moral quality to it. Wisdom books like Proverbs and James would say that those who obey God’s principles are “wise”; those who ignore God’s moral commands are “fools”. In this little verse, James gives us three ways to tell if we have “spiritual good sense” or not.
1. Do I avoid what is bad?—That’s the thrust of living an “honorable life”. Am I behaving myself? Let’s be honest—even as adults, sometimes we struggle with this one. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a “time out” when you feel that frustration, anxiety, or anger is about to make you “show out” like a toddler. People with “spiritual good sense” don’t bring dishonor to themselves by letting their emotions drive the train of their actions!
2. Do I actively seek to do good?—It’s not enough to avoid what’s “bad”, to bite our tongues and ignore the issues around us. Wisdom is proactive, not reactive. How can you be part of the solution to a problem today? What active steps can you take today to make life better for those around you?
3. Do I act from pride or humility?—Finally, there’s the “motive check”, right? Some people only behave themselves in order to save face. Many “do good” because it will make them “look good” and hopefully benefit them in some way. James says that a person with “spiritual good sense” understands this—you’re not the center of the universe. It’s not all about “me”. We don’t feel the need to be the most important person in the room; we don’t have to be the first, the best, the brightest, etc. When others act unkindly, we don’t take it personally; we don’t know what kind of load they may be carrying that has nothing to do with us. We get over ourselves quickly, act honorably, show grace, and keep serving with humility—that’s the proof we’ve developed “spiritual good sense”.
I love you and am praying for you today! Keep your head screwed on straight—it’s tough out there sometimes.