In James 3, we pick up on a important question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” It goes on to say, “Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” We need to know that there is wisdom from above, and there is wisdom from below. Human wisdom is often based on human motivations. Human motivations outside of the influence of God are often flawed through self-seeking. This motivation opens the door to sensual, and even demonic, influence. The Bible explains how this worked at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. In the beginning, there was a choice given to mankind: rely on God’s wisdom and follow Him, or reject Him, with the result of being subjected to the enemy. We can easily see the correlation of this human motivation in James 3:16, “Where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Last summer, before the presidential campaign began, in earnest, I felt the Lord speak these scriptures to me from James; then He said, “Prepare for a time of confusion.” I understood from these scriptures that this time of confusion would come because people would forgo the motivation of heaven, instead seeking the wisdom from below. The Tower of Babel reminds me of this conflict.
In the story, the men of Babel developed the technology to make bricks, representing their ability to take matters into their own hands. Stones and rocks represented the created thing, and really the process of God. Their ability to make bricks made them think that they could build a tower to heaven, instead of waiting for heaven to come to them. In response, the Lord sent confusion of the language to prevent man from fulfilling his desire to usurp the authority of God. According to scripture, God is not the author of confusion, but confusion is the result of human behavior outside the will of God. It may not seem to be a rebellion, but whenever we are so bold as to assume that we do not need God’s direction, confusion will always be the end result.
We Need the Wisdom From Above
As Christians in these times of confusion and turmoil, we must be careful to remember where our wisdom must come from. In James 3:17 it says, “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.” It could be very easy to just join the conflicts of our times, with a sense of standing for what is “right,” but not walking in God’s righteousness. This is a very easy, and common, thing to do. In fact, in these times of intense conflict, and compared to walking in God’s ways, it does not appear that we would have any influence without relying on our human strength.
I found inspiration in the recently released movie, Hacksaw Ridge. The man in the movie, based on a true story of Desmond Doss, chose not to carry a gun in World War II. He chose instead to be a medic, without the benefit of self-defense. He did not believe in carrying a gun and using it against other people. In the battle, Hacksaw Ridge, the title of the film, saved the lives of multiple people, dodging bullets just to gather up the wounded. Without making a personal statement about self-defense, or even the military, I appreciated his commitment to his ideals. The efforts of one man saved so many!
I am an advocate of voting, and our involvement in the civil discourse; but I also believe the Church, and believers, must take a position in the world where we are able to gather up the wounded from the conflicts of our times and bring them to Christ. We must always be mindful that our citizenship is not just in an earthly nation; we are citizens of the Kingdom of God. We must always be mindful of our two-fold position, and be careful to note that even those who we see as enemies of our civil cause may actually be candidates for His eternal Kingdom. This is not an easy task. It requires a new level of maturity, as well as a greater understanding of our identity, so we can express ourselves in the world.
Will you join with me in making your heavenly identity your primary motivation, so we can escape the clutches of human motivation? I hear the voice telling me it’s a time of confusion, and I hear the same voice crying out for those who will be the solution!