Rev. Jaerock Lee
#Wisdom from Above
James 3 : 17 -18
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
A lady got onboard a train after buying a bag of chips and a book. When she went to her seat, a young man was sitting next to her, but he did not make a very good impression on her.
But since it was a designated seat, she had to sit there.
And something strange took place while she was reading the book.
The young man next to her was eating her chips!
Thinking that he was really a strange man who had made a bad first impression, she looked at him, but he just kept on eating the chips.
He was eating them so openly that she couldn’t even ask him why he was eating her chips.
She thought for a while, and to show that it was her chips, she began to eat the chips from the packet, too. But the young man just kept on eating, and she also continued to eat them with discomfort in her heart.
When there was one single chip left, they reached the destination. The young man cut the last one into two halves. He ate one half and gave the other half to the lady.
Then, without saying anything like ‘Thank you’ or ‘Sorry’ he just got down from the train and left.
The lady was absolutely dumbfounded, but she just decided to bear with it. Before getting off the train, she put her book into her bag.
At that moment she was so surprised. In her handbag was the pack of chips that she had bought!
It was not the young man who ate somebody else’s chips but the lady herself!
Brothers and sisters, sometimes, if we have prejudice about something, we will be convinced of some things that are not true to be really true.
If we have wavering partiality, we will give birth to falsehood. The young man had made a negative impression on the lady and the lady judged and came to the conclusion that he was eating her chips.
Without thinking about checking her bag, she just kept on thinking badly about the other person.
In fact, the other person showed kindness toward her, but she only thought badly of it as well.
When we meet somebody or when we are in a particular situation, we can see the truth only when we look at the things without wavering and partiality.
That is why the wisdom from above is unwavering and without hypocrisy.
Only when we can we look at everything through the eyes of justice and fairness can we then discern what the truth really is. This is the 9th session of “The Wisdom from Above.”
Through the message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all have true wisdom in you and you will be guided to the way of life and blessings.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the last session, we learned that, if we have partiality, we will eventually give birth to the fruit of falsehood.
We can discern the truth in all things correctly only when we don’t have partiality and bias towards one side or the other.
Let me tell you some of the things that are needed to have unwavering thinking.
First, to incline towards the weak is also a bias in the truth. Exodus 23:3 says, “nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”
When a man of strength and a man of weakness fight against each other, people usually think it is more proper to stand up for the weak. They think it is something cowardly and self-seeking if they stand for the strong and the rich.
But to discern the truth, we should not incline towards either side.
God does not want us to shift to the left or to the right. He wants us to discern what is right and wrong correctly, and to discern with the eyes of love and compassion.
Secondly, unless we have personally seen or heard something ourselves, we should never judge anything just by hearing it from somebody else. Especially about objects or people against which we have prejudice, it is difficult to discern the truth correctly, even if we have seen and heard something ourselves.
Furthermore, if we just carelessly judge others or come to a conclusion just by hearing from somebody or with some speculations, we will be very wrong.
Let me give you an example. Suppose you are investing in a business. Then, you will conduct a thorough research of it. You will have to check the information very carefully as to whether your partner is trustworthy and whether the business could really generate revenues, and so on.
If you just invest a great amount of money just on the hearsay from somebody, who can you blame if you are swindled out of your money or if you suffer from a great loss?
This is not only concerning worldly business.
We can make our hearts more upright and more just only when we are careful about what we see, hear, and conclude in everything.
When I receive reports from church workers, I don’t come to a conclusion just by listening to one side. When I receive a report from a person about somebody else’s wrongdoings, I hear a little different story from the person himself.
We can figure out the exact situation only after hearing from both sides.
Sometimes, even if it is surely an individual’s fault, at times the person tries to conceal it or give an excuse for it. There are many times that I have just believed him.
It is with my desire that he can have some rest in his heart and receive new strength to change because I believed what he said.
Thirdly, to be unwavering, we have to cast off ill-feelings and self-centered motives. Most people have more lenient standards for those who are close to them or those who treat them well.
For example, if somebody who is not very close to us breaks the rules, we say, “He is arrogant. He doesn’t follow the rules and he acts with impropriety.”
But if our family members or close friends break the rules, we think they must have had a reason.
Among the unbelievers, when their children are beaten up outside, their tempers flare up first, before they think about who is right and who is wrong. They don’t think about their own children hitting other children, they just get angry because their own children have been beaten.
So, we have a saying, “The children’s fight soon becomes the parents’ fight.”
In a meeting, if somebody whom we don’t like suggests an idea, we just see the negative side of the idea. On the other hand, if a close friend suggests an idea, we only see the good points of it.
When we say something or think about something, if we can feel any kind of ill-feelings or self-centered motives, we have to be on alert and check ourselves once again.
Especially if it is related to our loved ones or close friends, we must be able to act and speak in greater justice and fairness.
I explained in the aspect of reasonableness already. There are situations in which we should not take even the things we can take, and there are situations in which we should not do what we can do. If we are in leadership positions seen by many people, we have to control ourselves even more.
We may take some things because we have accomplished some righteousness in heart and it is OK to take that much. But in other people’s sight, it may seem it is lust and greed.
Thus, for the sake of those people, we should not take what we can take. This is a wise person before God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s passage James 3:18 says, “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Verse 18 is like the conclusion of the word about wisdom in verse 17.
If we are sanctified, we will have peace with everybody. Those who have peace with everybody will act in gentleness and reasonableness.
They will also be merciful and full of good fruits, and are unwavering and without hypocrisy. When we accomplish all the aspects in the verse 17, we will be peacemakers and we will sow in peace and reap righteousness as said in verse 18.
The peace in verse 17 is mostly about peace with other people, and the peace in verse 18 is about peace with God.
But sometimes, people think of peace with men only and break peace with God.
Also, while they are actually violating the truth and compromising with unrighteousness, they think they are wise because they have peace.
Or sometimes their mind is weakened in some relationships with others and they violate the word of God.
A good example is a person who acts as the guarantor for another person’s obligations or a person who lends money. The Bible tells us to never to be the guarantor of another person’s debt and have no debt but the debt of love.
I always tell you not to have any monetary exchange among brothers of faith, or people will stumble.
But if a close friend of yours ask you to be his guarantor or to lend him money for his business, some of you forget these words.
It is not love to be a surety just because your brother is in difficulty and he is asking you to help. It is unwise, and you are causing yourself difficulties.
Maybe if you love him so much then you can just give him what he needs. Otherwise, you will have difficulties because of money and you will have enmity with one another.
You are not edifying others in the church. Above all, because you are not obeying the word, God cannot protect you as Satan is at his work.
We always have to think about the peace with God first, rather than peace with men.
Also, we should discern carefully between compromising to seek our own and following peace for God’s glory. Daniel’s three friends roused the great anger of the king by refusing to worship an idol. To have peace with the king, they could just bow down before the idol once.
But it is such a grave sin before God and it breaks peace with God greatly.
Daniel’s three friends chose to follow peace with God at the risk of their own lives by breaking peace with the king.
And what was the result? God greatly revealed their righteousness. Namely, they were not hurt at all even in the fiery furnace and glorified God greatly before the king and the people.
When they kept peace with God, it’s not only they who received the blessings.
The king and the people who witnessed that miracle came to revere God. So, those three righteous men became peacemakers between God and the people. It is a good example of sowing in peace and reaping righteousness.
In many cases, the righteousness of men and righteousness of God may be different.
Then, we definitely have to choose what is right in the sight of God.
Some people say they believe in God but it is OK to worship idols.
They say it is not really worshiping the demons but just following the good tradition of a country.
Or they say if we offend our unbelieving family members by not worshiping idols, it is to disgrace God.
They say by doing so they cannot evangelize the family.
But in spiritual sense, it is exactly the opposite. If a believer bows down before idol, it disgraces God. If the peace with God is broken, God cannot work anymore and the family evangelization is delayed.
Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
As said, when we first have peace with God can we have peace with other people, too. If we break peace with God to have peace with men, this is meaningless.
That kind of peace can be broken any time and it does not benefit us in any way.
Of course, when we do not bow down before an idol, the result may be different according to how wisely we act.
If we can persuade the family members with good and wise words by the help of the Holy Spirit, it is very good. But otherwise, it better to just stay silent.
When we quietly pray and become the light and salt and accumulate goodness before God continuously, then the family members will have a chance to receive salvation.
But some people act in their haste and are not successful. They insist on their own opinions with strong words or have quarrels with heated temper to hurt the feelings of family members.
If the family evangelization is slowed that way, we should understand, it’s not that God is not working but we are slowing down the things and making them go around again and again.
For example, I think you have seen in dramas or movies the scenes in which those who were fighting for Korea’s independence were arrested and interrogated.
It’s good to argue for the independence while they are being questioned or when they stand in the court, but they may cause more suffering for themselves if the methods they use are not good.
Some of them spit on the police officers or curse at them or say something to insult the judge. They may be beaten up much more or they may receive longer terms in jail because of those things.
Even though they did the right thing (to stand for independence), they didn’t have to do unnecessary evil within their righteousness. It is not something wise.
In our daily lives, we not only have to choose what is more right in the sight of God, but also we have to receive good wisdom in the methodology.
Then we can have answers and blessings more quickly and we can have peace with everybody.
Namely, peace with God is not only between God and us, but peace is also in the relationship of being faithful in all God’s house.
Through service, sacrifice, love, and generosity, we have to have peace with others, too.
If we have peace with God this way, this will become our righteousness. We will be spiritually confident before God so we will receive answer to whatever we ask and bear the fruits of blessings everywhere.
Originating with Adam, all mankind became sinners by nature, and we couldn’t have peace with God who is holy.
But the sinless Jesus died for us on the cross to become the atoning sacrifice.
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Jesus Christ became our righteousness, and by believing in this fact we can be justified and have peace with God.
But being forgiven of our sins is not the end. Once we are justified by faith, we must grow up to have true faith accompanied by deeds. We have to cast away sins and evil and cultivate the attributes of righteousness in our hearts like holiness, gentleness, reasonableness, and mercy.
If we still live in sins, our peace with God will be broken.
God sacrificed His one and only Son to have peace with us, and we should not break this peace from outside.
I hope all of you will quickly cast away all sins and evil.
By doing so, I hope you will have more peace with God and have deeper relationship with Him.
Then, you will be acknowledged as God’s friend like Abraham and Moses.
Those who have peace with God this way will cause others to have peace with God, too, so that those people can receive blessings.
Abraham had peace with God and his nephew Lot was also blessed. Because of Moses, who was confident before God, all the sons of Israel were shown forgiveness and mercy.
When we can guide many souls to God this way and let them have peace with God, we can be called true children of God.
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, watching the news these days, we feel our times are quite chaotic.
All the news we hear is about people having difficult times and people say they can’t bear it.
But even in times like these, God’s wisdom can give us comfort and peace and lead us to the way of blessings.
The sons of Israel in the land of Goshen were protected even in the midst of ten plagues on the whole land of Egypt. Even when there was great famine for 7 years, Joseph made the Pharaoh rich and took care of his people in abundance.
We finish this message on wisdom from above as of today. Through the nine messages you listened to so far, I hope you will understand what true wisdom is.
After all, wisdom is the 66 books of the word of God itself.
It is to keep the commandments, cast away evil, and receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the sanctified heart.
And in the main content, I explained the five specific aspects of wisdom with examples.
I hope you will keep in mind each of the aspects such as being pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy.
Even if you think you have cultivated the truth in you to quite an extent, I hope you will check yourself more deeply.
I hope you will always check yourself as to whether you are really right, whether what you thought, said, or did were really right, so that you can really cultivate perfection.
I hope you will be truly wise people and dwell in the peace and blessings of God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will also be able to guide countless souls to God and shine like the sun in the kingdom of heaven.