In our last discussion we saw that James wrote his New Testament letter with a view of Jesus that was very different from the one he had while growing up under the same roof. In a similar way, his letter urges his brothers and sisters in Christ to experience a new perspective and way of thinking about the common troubles of our lives.
Under the influence of Jesus, James urges us to see trouble as an opportunity to reflect the attitudes of wisdom. When such insight alludes us, he assures us that God is ready to help us— if we’re ready for a change. For instance, if we’re ready to go beyond our default inclinations of self-interest, James says, the wisdom from God comes in a far purer and more peace-loving spirit. As he puts it, rather than being marked by self-centeredness, “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 favoritism 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).
This Jesus-like way of living is a summary of the wisdom James alludes to in his introduction. It’s the kind of heart needed to override the disruptive pride, prejudice, and insults of life described in the first three chapters of his letter.
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