“Real Authentic Faith"
Verse of the Week
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” [James 3:13 NIV]
The Big Idea
The Book of James has emphasized that real authentic faith produces good deeds. In this confusing world it can be hard to know which good deeds to put our hands to. Knowing what to do when you are following Jesus, James argues, requires wisdom; which is the subject of this week's section (James 3:13-18).
The Wisdom of the World (vs.13-16)
The things we do day in and day out reveal what we believe. In the same way, the things we do display how wise we are. The difficulty in determining what to do and say in a situation is that it is not uncommon to find ourselves receiving conflicting advice. James begins this section by defining what “Godly wisdom” looks like. He says that wise actions are birthed from humility, which is a result of a good life.
Ungodly or “worldly” wisdom looks much different from “Godly” wisdom. This “wisdom” will encourage you to envy your neighbor or to think selfishly. Acting this way is nothing to be proud of (James 3:14). A life lived in this way is opposed to the way Jesus would have us live our lives. James says that it is “...earthly, unspiritual, [and] demonic.” (James 3:15). It is not hard to see, however, that this form of “wisdom” is practiced every day in our world. The result of a life lived this way is chaos. James says “...where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:16)
Godly Wisdom (vs.17-18)
Godly wisdom stands in direct opposition to worldly wisdom. Verse 17 provides us with a clear list of what Godly wisdom looks like: “...pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”. Notice the actionable nature of this list. If we really believe in Jesus and want to follow Him, then the result will be actions that mirror this list. Imagine a world full of people who dedicated themselves to living their lives in this way!
This commitment to wise peaceful living results in “...a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18). Living this way may not immediately lead to a positive payoff. Remember, it stands in stark contrast to how the world operates, but that is the point. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do you light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
How has your week been spiritually?
What is God teaching you through this passage?
Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. How does this principle apply to what James is teaching?
On a scale of one to ten (one being completely worldly and ten being completely Godly), how would you rate the wisdom of the majority of your choices this past week? In what ways could you have moved these decisions more towards Godliness?
What’s your next step in your relationship with God? How will you turn this next step into action this week?
Call to Action
Share your next step with 1 person inside or outside of group and invite them to hold you accountable.
Talk about Group with at least 1 person.