"Me First. Me First! I love to hear his name! From Timbuktu to Calamalazoo he rules a vast domain."
James 3: "13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.17 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. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
Those are some great verses. The fruit of righteousness sown in peace is a lovely thought. And I, by the grace of God, am sometimes able to plant such seeds. It's hard, but not too hard, to plant seeds of righteousness in peace when the situation is isolated, or when the discord in your life comes from people who don't claim to love you, or claim to love Jesus, either. But sometimes, there are situations that involve just those kinds of people. People who say they love Jesus and they love you. I have been struggling with a situation like this for a few years. It's a situation where I feel walked on and generally disregarded. It's a situation that makes me feel like "If I don't advocate for myself, no one else will." After just so many times of peaceably and gently yielding, I started to wonder, "When is this person going to yield to me? Doesn't the Bible tell this person to maybe take turns with all this selfless yielding stuff?"
Sad to say, but I found out last night that while I might have started out with wisdom from above, somewhere in there, wisdom from this earth slipped in, quietly and convincingly. My complaints were valid- according to the wisdom of this world. I was RIGHT- if you look at it through the numero-uno, get-mine goggles of this world. I had legitimate, good reasons about why it was time for me to put my foot down and say- "Hey, it's your turn to think of me and mine, k?"And a whiny little voice started a whole-crowd chant, "What about me? What about me? What about ME?" I want to make it clear here that being right did not give me a get out of jail free card. I still had to get right with this other person and with God. I share this because, if your 'rightness' is holding you back from peacably yielding in any situation in your life, maybe you can get to the 'full of mercy and good fruits' part faster than I did.
Even though I felt justified in my 'rightness' I knew that there was a problem with my thinking somewhere. I would think to myself, "I am not putting this other person's interests before my own." But the thought kept creeping back, "If I don't advocate for myself, WHO WILL? I'll be kowtowing in this situation till one of us dies. Great." I finally wised up and stopped asking this question rhetorically and started directing it to God.
O, praise Jesus, my prayer was answered last night. Wouldn't you know, the answer was right in the Bible. Let's just move right on to the 4th chapter of James, shall we? "What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it."
I don't have what I want because I don't ask God for it. I don't need to fight for it, because God wants to give it me, if only I will ask. Because God is FOR me, isn't He? God gives me good gifts, doesn't He? And He has a good plan about this situation, too. GOD is thinking of me. GOD is advocating for me. So I can chill. I can cling to the wisdom that if from above: Pure. Peace loving. Gentle at all times. Willing to yield to others. Full of mercy and good deeds. Sincere.
It's Spring! On Sunday, I planted a bunch of seeds - kohlrabi, peppers, onions, lettuce. With some sunshine and water, and by the grace of God, they will bear fruit this summer. On Monday, I planted seeds of peace, and by the grace of God, they will produce a harvest of righteousness! Cool! Bring on the gardening.
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.