Daily D – James 3:17-18
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. JAMES 3:17-18 (NLT)
We are instructed in James 1:5 to ask God for wisdom. In this chapter, James begins by talking about one of the wisest things anyone can ever do. He says we should learn to control our tongues. He writes, “For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could control ourselves in every other way,” (v. 2).
Knowing when to speak and what to say in particular moments is wise. Knowing when to keep your tongue locked behind two rows of teeth and sealed lips is another aspect of wisdom. Again, one of my favorite sayings is, “It’s never too early to shut up.” It is also never too early to encourage, to speak truth and grace, life and hope.
James tells more of what it means to be a truly wise guy or gal in verse 13. He says wise people live honorable lives. They do good works with humility. In other words, they do the right thing the right way for the right reason in the right timing and they don’t feel the need to tell everybody what a good guy or gal they are.
James then bottom-lines things for us in today’s verses. He provides another list of wisdom’s characteristics. He says it is pure, peace loving, gentle, willing to yield to others, full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It does not play favorites and it is always sincere. It produces peace and righteousness in abundance.
There is one feature in the middle of that description that benefits everyone beginning with the wise individual. True wisdom from above is “willing to yield to others.” Unyielding persons are not wise. Completely submissive doormats are not wise. True wisdom knows when to stand up and when to sit down. It knows when to speak up and when to remain silent.
Some people need more STOP signs in their lives. Others need more YIELD signs. Some need to figure out where the gas pedal is and step on it. Which one most often describes you?
If you look at my DISC profile, you will notice my top two characteristics are the I and the D. The I is about Influence. The D is about Dominance or Determination. People with these two characteristics tend to get things started and moving. They are good pioneers.
I work with a guy whose D is way higher than mine. The scale requires a top line to hold him in. I work with a woman whose I and D are higher than mine. I try to stay out of her way and take credit for her work. One of the wisest things I have ever learned is to take a step back when people like them are better equipped to step up and take the lead. I have learned to yield to them. There are some others I relate to where this is still a growth area, right honey?
I think I might create a card to carry around with me that has a STOP sign on one side and a YIELD sign on the other. At certain points in certain settings, I will pull it out and ask myself which is more appropriate for the moment. I’m not worried about the gas pedal. I’m more like a NASCAR driver when it comes to that. Push it all the way to the floor and leave it there. That is the right answer, right?
I will wisely yield when others are better equipped to step up and lead the way.
Our Father, yielding does not come naturally. It requires wisdom. Please give us the wisdom to know when and how to yield. Remind us as often as necessary that a refusal to yield is unwise. Remind us as well that always yielding is equally foolish. Show us today when to step in and when to step out of the way. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)