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Posts Tagged ‘James 3:13-18’

Quarrels

March 28th, 2012

“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife.” Proverbs 20:3 NIV

A person who always has to be right will live a lonely and unhappy life.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “quarrels.”

Did you ever watch a couple of preschoolers quarrel? Not a very pretty sight. They are stubborn and resolute. Both want their way with no thought of there being a better way. They both think they are right and the other is wrong, or they don’t even care who is right or wrong. They just want what they want. Shouldn’t we grow out of that kind of self-centeredness? Children will be children, but adults should be adults. “It’s like this: when I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT. Quarrels are childish things.

Many disagreements are little more than a difference of opinion or objective. If the same person requires being deferred to in every discussion or decision, then their relationship is mere pretense. It is unrealistic to think that everyone will have the same opinion as you all the time, or that you will agree with everyone else every time. What do you do? Solomon gave wise advice: “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife.” Proverbs 20:3 NIV. Avoid strife! Before reacting, filter your feelings and process your thoughts. Look inside yourself for a possible solution.

At those moments, your initial response is extremely important to what follows. Remember; always, the goal is to resolve differences not escalate them into a quarrel. Here’s God’s way; “Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.” Ephesians 4:1-3 TEV.

On a practical side, the issue is not usually about who is right or wrong; ordinarily, both are a bit of each. Instead, your mutual objective should be to find common ground for some measure of agreement that allows everyone involved to move forward together. When disagreement is obvious, choose not to be disagreeable or become personal. At those rare times that no solution can be found that satisfies all concerned, agree to disagree and be gracious in your respect. Sometimes life requires willingness to compromise to achieve a common good. Not every difference has to be resolved your way in order for the universe to be at rest.

There are times in marriages, friendships, churches, and business, when a relationship may be more important than the disagreement. The person who always has to be right will soon live a very lonely and unhappy life. The need to be right every time is not a sign of brilliant superiority; it is more an indicator of immaturity and/or self-importance. Is the quarrel more important to you or the friend? You might win the quarrel but lose the friend. Read James 3:13-18 NIV.

Keep your words pleasant and respectful just in case you have to eat them later. Perfection from yourself or another is not a realistic expectation. If you keep that in mind, you will be more tolerant when a friend holds an opinion other than yours. The Bible’s counsel of “In honor, preferring one another” comes to mind as a relational guideline on such occasions. Romans 12:10 NKJV.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it.” James 4:1-2 NKJV.  Let’s face it; getting your own way every time is not particularly healthy and doesn’t exactly prepare you for cooperative relationships. Your parents may have allowed you the illusion, or your spouse may defer for the sake of peace, but you will need people in your life with the responsibility to speak truthfully into your life when you most need that, and even when you may least want it. That’s what a good and Godly friend does.

My prayer for you today is that you would prefer to be righteous above just being right.

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Applying Truth

October 12th, 2011

“The Lord gives wisdom . . from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6 NIV

“Wisdom is the art of applying God’s truth correctly.”

My thoughts today are about “applying truth.”

How well you do in life will be greatly impacted by the quality of your formal education and the life-lessons of your experiences. Education is valuable; life experience is beyond price. The quality of your education is not altogether about the reputation of the university you attend, but about the application of yourself to be an avid and appreciative learner. A university degree proves only that you took the required courses and got passing grades; it does not measure or adequately reflect the level of knowledge and understanding you acquired or wisdom gained.

Solomon wrote, “The Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 NIV. Beyond the information you gather and the experiences you will gain, life is lived best when you recognize that God is your Source for living wisely. Paul marveled at the unlimited and available truth to be known in God. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing.” Read Romans 11:33 NIV.

In his earliest years as the new King of Israel, Solomon was given the opportunity to ask God for whatever he wanted. Read 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 NKJV. What would a king ask for – wealth, honor, long life, or victory in battle? Above everything else, Solomon desired wisdom. “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this . . great people of Yours.”

Solomon understood that for the large responsibilities before him to lead and judge wisely, he would need wisdom beyond what he possessed and that would best come from God.  Wisdom begins with a humble heart to serve God well. Here’s God’s response: “Because this was in your heart . . wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings before you, nor shall any after you.” All other things you may hope for in life will not assure you of wisdom, but wisdom will gain what you otherwise would not attain.

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs whose central theme is the gaining of wisdom and its practical lessons for everyday life. Solomon’s advice? “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she will promote you . .” Read Proverbs 4:7-13 NKJV. Wisdom is not to be confused with mere cleverness, not broad knowledge, nor being worldly-wise. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle . .” See James 3:13-18 NKJV.

To live wisely, you must develop a spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. To have wisdom, you must live in obedience to God’s direction. To be truly wise, you must love and know God’s Word. Wisdom is the practiced art of applying God’s truth correctly. You know God’s Word best when you truly know God first. “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts.” Psalm 119:97-105 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you ask God for wisdom and prize it highly.

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