Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pastoral Pings ~ The Wisdom of the Peacemakers

          As I have been considering how to work out our salvation with fear and trembling in relation to dealing with people who have hurt us, wronged us, even abused us, it has helped to go through James’ contrast between the wisdom of the world, and the wisdom that comes down from above.[1]
          Today the characteristic that suddenly stood out very strongly is James’ description of the “wisdom from above,” as “peaceable.”[2] As I began to consider this through the mindset of God’s work in us, it became clear in a very convicting, helpful, and timely way.
          Since working out our salvation with fear and trembling is in relation to God working in us to will and to work for his good pleasure,[3] and the wisdom he sends from above includes this quality of “peaceable,” God will be working in us to will things that express this quality, and to work things that express this fruit of the Spirit.[4]
          This means that we can look at the exact circumstances we are in, and the people God is bringing into our lives, and whatever difficulties that might be presented by the way other people are doing things, or the hurts that still linger from what people have done in the past, and we can recognize within us that God is working to give us a will for peace.
          To clarify, God is working in us, with everybody around us, to get us to have a will that is peaceable. We can bring anyone to mind, any situation we are facing, any circumstance, and know that there is a way that God is working in us to will the peaceable way of doing things.
          At the same time as God is working in us to have a will for the peaceable fruit of his wisdom, he is also working in us to work out things that will be the peaceable way of doing things in any relationship situation we are facing.
          Again, it is not the person or people in the relational circumstance that decides how we relate to them, but the God who sends us his distinctive wisdom, and gives us his Son as our Savior, the Prince of Peace.[5] Everything God is working for good in our lives[6] will include him moving us to be the peaceable ones in any encounter with anyone. This is not our wisdom, or the wisdom that comes from below, but it is what comes from above, so it is the way God is working in us to will and to work for his good pleasure.
          When we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing what God is working in us for peaceableness towards everyone, we can take very seriously that this is the only way we want to act. We look at scary people, not with fear of them, but with fear and trembling of God and what he is working into us.
          At the end of any encounter with anyone, no matter what they have done to us in the past, and no matter what they are doing to us now, we want to walk away knowing we worked out what God was working into us. We want to be able to leave a planned visit, or a surprise encounter, with that peaceful feeling that we did towards everyone what was peaceable.
          To encourage us with the necessity of working with God in our peaceableness towards everyone, James concludes this section, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”[7] What this sounds like to me is that, those who live by the wisdom from above, who work out their salvation with fear and trembling, or those “who make peace,” or are “peaceable.”
          What these peaceable ones reap as their harvest is “righteousness.” What they do with this harvest of righteousness is that it is then “sown,” or replanted. As it is “sown in peace,” by those who “make peace,” the harvest of righteousness continues.
          In the same way as a farmer will plant his grain, and when he harvests his grain he uses some of that grain as seed for the next crop, James is showing us that the “harvest of righteousness” that comes to those who “make peace,” is once again “sown in peace,” continuing a cycle of blessing among the peacemakers of the kingdom of heaven.
          I know that when God speaks so clearly through his word it is in preparation for something he is doing. As prophet Amos told us, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets,”[8] and Paul tells us that God is working in us to will and to work for his good pleasure,[9] if God is getting my attention so strongly on the wisdom of peaceableness, I can expect that he is stirring up my heart to be willing to walk in this wisdom, because something is about to happen that will require me to work that kind of peaceableness into a situation that may be anything but peaceful.
          If this quality of wisdom is so important to my heavenly Father, I can be sure that he wants me to receive it from him first, and then use it in every situation I face with anyone whatsoever. If you sense the way he is working in you to will and to work for the peaceableness that is an expression of his good pleasure, be sure you join me in the readiness to work out this peaceable quality of our salvation with fear and trembling, no matter who or what we face in the coming days.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”[10]

© 2015 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] James 3:13-18
[2] vs 17
[3] Philippians 2:12-13
[4] Galatians 5:22-23
[5] Isaiah 9:6
[6] Romans 8:28-30
[7] James 3:18
[8] Amos 3:7
[9] Philippians 2:12-13
[10] Matthew 5:9

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