Rev. Jaerock Lee
James 3 : 17
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Do you remember the joy of your first love?
It’s not about your physical first love but the passion of the first love in having met God the first time. It’s a little different from person to person, but if we experience the grace and love of God, people have several things in common that take place.
For example, we feel happy just to see a cross on the street. Or, when we see a person who is holding a Bible, we feel that he/she is so loveable and friendly.
We can even greet and initiate conversations with others whom we didn’t like so much before.
Even when other people criticize us, we can just smile. Even when we are persecuted while preaching the gospel, we just rejoice.
When we see others are doing better than we are, we don’t get jealous or become envious like before, and we just feel happy together with them and congratulate them.
When we go to the church and meet with the church members, we want to share everything with others.
Even though we don’t have enough for ourselves, we try to help others. Even when we sweat doing volunatary service for the Lord, we just feel happy that we can serve the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
As the Bible says, we have generous hearts so that when somebody strikes one cheek of ours, we can turn the other also, and if somebody forces us to go one mile with him, we can even go two miles with him.
It’s because our hearts are filled with the love of God.
If our hearts are filled with the love of God, our greed to fulfill our needs will disappear.
But rather we would want to share our things and serve others. When we see others are happy because of that, we become happy, too.
It would be wonderful if we could keep this fullness of the first love, but we tend to lose this fullness after some time as our ‘self’ resurfaces.
Once we joyfully shared with others, but again we start to feel that it is wasteful. We also feel we don’t like somebody who is selfish and who only receives. Even when we share with and serve others, we feel somewhat sad.
We may think, “Why should I alone toil and serve like this? I serve this much, and only the others are receiving benefit, but for me it is a loss.”
When we see ourselves thinking about profit and loss and calculating, we may feel how pathetic we are and think, “Was I that stingy?”
But as our faith grows up through trials and our hearts increasingly become filled with more truth, our generosity will increase, too.
When the truth fills our heart completely, we will be able to have the heart of the Lord to share everything and even give up our lives.
This is the abundant heart that comes out from the gentleness and reasonableness being full of the truth.
We will not face loss just because we give of ourselves. To those who have greed, giving to others may seem foolish and be seen as a loss.
But the fact is that the wisdom to receive true blessings, namely the blessings of the almighty God, is embedded in gentleness and reasonableness.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have this wisdom in you so that you can share everything abundantly and receive the blessings of God more abundantly.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the last session, we learned about the meaning of gentleness and some examples of gentleness. For us “gentleness” is a quality of the heart that is being able to yield everything because we abundantly possess the truth in our hearts and at the same time we have freedom in that truth.
Here, let us delve into the meaning of the ‘freedom of truth’ briefly and then let me explain about the term ‘reasonableness’, which is paired with gentleness. John 8:32 says, “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
To those who are not living by the truth, the truth may feel like shackles. But, to those who know the truth and completely act by it, they feel free within the truth.
For example, when you commit a crime and are on the run from the law, it will startle you to see a policeman.
But those who keep the law very well feel nothing like that when they see a policeman.
When necessary, they may even ask a policeman for help because they feel more secure with the police around.
Living in the Truth is similar to this. Those who are living in the truth know that the law of God is the love of God and the passage way to blessings. So, they don’t have any fear.
For example, let’s consider the command to completely keep the Sabbath holy. If you do not have the faith to keep the Sabbath completely, you feel burdensome about the commandment.
You feel the words that tell you not to conduct business or not to participate in worldly entertainment on the Sabbath are like shackles.
But those who truly keep the Sabbath from the depth of their heart understand the peace and blessings through keeping the commandment, so they don’t feel burdened by it.
They recognize the spiritual sovereignty of God so that they are protected from any accident or calamity throughout the week.
Also, they don’t face any loss just because they don’t open their shops that day. They gain more.
God gives them 7 days’ worth of income during the other 6 days. He can also prevent unexpected expenses.
Because God protects from diseases and accidents and gives us prosperity in all things, we don’t have to pay for any medicine or hospital bills. We don’t have to spend extra money because of accidents or things like that.
Above all, our souls prosper, so we feel very happy and comfortable. So, we feel very free to know the truth and live by the truth.
For another example, if we cast off hatred, then, how light and happy our heart will be!
Before, we had quarrels because of hatred. We had hard times, and, feeling the burden of our heart, we felt sorry before God, too.
But if we cast off this sinful nature called hatred, we feel so happy. It feels so good we wonder why it took so long for us to cast it off.
The truth sets us free from the yoke of sin and frees us from the burdens of sin.
Next, if our heart is filled with the truth, we can also extend that freedom to others.
We don’t judge or condemn others just because they are not living by the truth, but instead we encourage them and strengthen them so they too can live by the truth. To be filled with the truth in our hearts is not just knowing what truth is by our knowledge alone. The latter part of 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “…knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
When a blind man touches an elephant’s leg, he may think, “An elephant looks like a pillar.”
To know the truth only as knowledge is like this blind man.
We know very little, but in our arrogance we may think that we know everything.
For example, when someone who understands the truth only as knowledge observes another person who wants to be served, they may soon judge and condemn him.
They may think, “He sure thinks he is important,” but they themselves do not realize that they are violating the truth telling us not to judge any of our brothers.
On the other hand, those who have truth in the heart will look at that person with the viewpoint of his measure of faith. They can discern the right and wrong with the word, but even when they see the untruth from others, they can still accept them and cover their faults with love.
Because they received compassion of God when they had many shortcomings, they also show compassion to others.
Brothers and sisters, when the truth comes into our heart abundantly and if we have generous hearts in the freedom of truth, we can see the way clearly in everything. Namely, we can gain ‘understanding’.
When we consider Jesus’ circumstances we can easily come to understand this. Jesus taught the heart of God to the people with the freedom of truth.
He explained to the people with many parables. He healed their physical and spiritual wounds and restored the broken spirits and souls.
In your case, too, to the extent that you have gentleness in you, with your wisdom you can let others discern the truth and heal their souls. Let me give you an example. In John chapter 8 we read about the woman who was caught in adultery.
One day, Jews brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. They asked Jesus what to do about her.
According to the Law of the Old Testament, they had to stone her to death. But if Jesus said that, they would say Jesus lacked love.
On the other hand, if Jesus told them to forgive her, they would condemn Him for neglecting the Law. In their opinion, they made a pit that Jesus couldn’t avoid so that they could condemn Him.
At the time, Jesus just began to write something on the ground without saying anything.
When the people asked Him to answer, He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” and continued writing on the ground. What Jesus had been writing on the ground at the time were the sins that the people there had committed.
When the people saw Jesus writing the sins that they had committed, they didn’t dare throw a stone at her.
One by one they left that place with qualms of conscience, and only Jesus and the woman remained.
John 8:10-11 says, “Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” This woman who had been shaking with fear and embarrassment was saved so dramatically.
She must have kept in her heart the word of Jesus saying, “Go. From now on sin no more.” What wondrous wisdom this was! If Jesus had not had truth in His heart completely, and if He had only little bit of condemnation in His heart, He could not have said such a thing.
Only if He had told them to forgive her only because she was pitiful, He would have been put into a very difficult situation.
People might have said He was violating the Law and they could have stoned Him, too.
But because Jesus fulfilled the Law completely and knew the original purpose of the Law, He had the wisdom to save everybody.
1 Timothy 2:4 says, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
As said, what God really wants is not to punish sinners but to let them repent and receive salvation.
All parts of the Law of God contain this love of God. But if He just forgives all sinners with sympathy, sin will spread like yeast and more people will fall into destruction.
This must not happen. That is why God designated punishment for sins.
Jesus had the perfect heart of truth, and so He knew the Heart and Will of God clearly. He also had the freedom of truth.
He had the gentleness to understand the heart of sinners and show compassion to them.
He could show the wisdom to let the people understand the true will of God by saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
One more thing we should realize here is that Jesus did not mention the sins of the people with words but He wrote them on the ground. He didn’t speak out those things to hurt the feelings of the people. He just let them read the names of the sins written on the ground so that they would quietly go away.
Sometimes, when a person talks about the fault of somebody else, the listener may embarrass that person saying, “You have this kind of fault, too!”
What is meant by saying something like this is, “Mind your own business.” Of course, it is something wrong to talk about the shortcomings of somebody else.
But even though that person is doing something wrong, it is not right to criticize the matter right in front of his face. That is to pay back evil with evil, and by doing so you are judging and condemning in the same way.
Also, the person who hears such words will have ill-feelings even though what he heard is true.
If we know the truth only as knowledge, not cultivating it in our heart, we may easily hurt the others with that knowledge. For example, when you see somebody going through some illness or trials, you sometimes judge others saying, “I knew this would happen. You should check yourself.”
Especially, to those who are close to you or your family members, you may say such a thing more easily.
Of course, if the other person is good in heart, he will accept it as advice with love and turn from his ways. It is right to check yourself when you face a trial.
But in most cases, such words will not help those who are going through the trials. Just as Job reacted to his friends negatively when he was going through the trials, those going through trials will also have only ill-feelings.
If you gave your advice to others with a good intention, and if the other person feels somewhat uncomfortable with you, please realize that your actions are like those in this situation.
We should not store the word of God just in our head but cultivate it in our heart. Only then will you be able to accept others with generosity and drive away the darkness in others with your light.
Even though someone acts with evilness, those who have gentleness in their hearts do not judge, condemn or maltreat the person and they will not hurt their feelings.
They consider him as a precious soul, and lead him with the truth.
When you have this kind of a heart, you will gain the wisdom to lead others to life. This is the wisdom gained from gentleness.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, next, reasonableness is to show the aroma of a good and beautiful heart with good fruits in words and deeds.
If our heart is filled with goodness and truth, the words we give out will be good words and all our deeds will be beautiful. But being good is not just being soft and gentle all the time.
It is spiritual goodness filled with the truth, so it has the authority to drive away darkness. In the spiritual realm, having no sin is power. Even children, if they have cultivated sanctification of the heart, the darkness will go away at their command.
So, if we have reasonableness, we can help others discern the problems of spirit and help them control their thinking.
When pastors and workers give advice to the church members, the authority of their words will be different if they have the fruit of reasonableness.
Even in case of those who have many fleshly thoughts, they can help them break down that chain of thoughts.
For example, in 1998, there were some people who tried to deceive the church members by spreading false rumors. What did I say at that time? I told you not to hear or see anything that was not truth, and to answer only with truth to those who were tempting the members.
But there were even pastors and workers who didn’t obey this. They said they could keep the flock from the deception only by knowing what the deceivers were saying.
You cannot keep the flock by doing that. It would only develop into arguments.
Also, by hearing such untruthful things, some of them themselves fell into temptation.
Also, even if you explain what they doubted, it would only be for a moment.
Other kinds of fleshly thoughts and doubts would come into their mind again and again.
If you explained one thing, it seemed they understood. But soon they come with similar problems wanting to hear the answer. Even if you do your best to explain, you can see that they haven’t changed at all.
But if you have spiritual wisdom and are full of the truth, you will not hear about all the fleshly thoughts they have and talk about them.
Just with a couple of words you can understand the other’s situation, and you will have the perfect answer for that situation.
Then, you can change the direction of his thoughts to have spiritual thoughts that give him life and peace.
If the flock listens to this kind of advice, they will gain peace and clear understanding and learn the ways to control their minds.
In the next session, I will talk about the reasonableness in more depth.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in Luke chapter 12, one person came to Jesus and asked Him to equally divide the inheritance of his parents with his brother.
In this situation, Jesus did not teach as to divide the inheritance and how much of a portion each brother should receive.
But rather, He tried to teach a more important thing by saying in Luke 12:15, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Unless this person cast away his greed, he would constantly have conflicts with his brother.
Also, only when he could cast away his greed could he receive blessings from God.
So, Jesus gave him the spiritual answer by teaching him the true way of blessing.
To pull out a tree, we shouldn’t just trim the branches and cut off the trunk, but pull out the main root itself.
If you fill your heart with truth completely, you will be able to see the fundamentals of the problems in gentleness and reasonableness.
So, you will not only be able to solve your own problems but also solve the problems of others and give them peace and comfort.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all have this kind of wisdom.
[Amen]#Wisdom from Above