by, Aug 14th 2011 at 05:01 PM (667 Views)
15 The peace of Christ must control your heartsóa peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. Col. 3:15
2...Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. Eph. 4
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is...peace Gal. 5
6 Donít be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4
Like the man says, one of the fruits of a Spirit led life is peace, and this is a peace that brings unity to the Body of believers, and helps to control the passions and emotions of the heart. In Col. 3:15, the word 'control' means to 'umpire', to moderate between competing sides and bring a harmony that leads to action, and aids in perseverance. In short, it leads us to the 'places of refreshing' that David speaks about in the 23rd Psalm. There is prayer that keeps anxiety at bay, and that gives room for the peace beyond understanding to grow in our hearts.
For Paul, the psychology is quite direct and to the point. You take it all to God, leave it on the field of prayer and let the peace of Christ moderate in your hearts, and in the relationships you build with others who follow Him. There is thankfulness to be aware of as we come to God, and the Joy that James speaks of as we seek Wisdom and what is needed. In this, there is a looking outward and upward that opposes the inward pull of pure 'need'. James chapter three is a picture of what can happen when we totally neglect Pauls call to a peace filled life.
Instead it becomes the pieces of lust, of greed, of selfishess and all that promotes greed at the expense of anyone else no matter what the cost. It is this that James is addressing in his letter. At the end of chapter three he talked about the peaceful life that is the result of true Wisdom. It is not a life devoid of conflict and trouble, but a peace that knows how to handle the problems of life. James is contrasting, in chapter three, the life that knows how to handle the inner and outer turmoil by turning it over to God and seeking His wisdom in dealing with the conflicts of life.
Remember how James opens his letter calling for a Joyful and steadfast response to what is thrown at us. If we do not know what to do, he says, pray for God's wisdom and believe that He will give you the answers. Instead of seeking to follow the passions of our heart, make God's wisdom our passionate guide. The line of thought flows into what we call 'chapter four' as James now expands on his point. It is not learning to bridle the tongue and what the tongue can do that is now ripping them apart and hindering their prayers.
James 4: 1 What is the source of conflict among you? What is the source of your disputes? Donít they come from your cravings that are at war in your own lives? 2 You long for something you donít have, so you commit murder. You are jealous for something you canít get, so you struggle and fight. You donít have because you donít ask. 3 You ask and donít have because you ask with evil intentions, to waste it on your own cravings.
They have not learned to bridle their tongue and all it releases because they have not learned to remain steadfast in faith during testing and trials. They have not learned the value of seeking the Wisdom and Peace that comes from above, so they cannot really pray as they should. James is teaching, in a very graphic way, that our prayer life is simply an outgrowth of our lives of faith and peace.
Jesus taught this in Matthew:
7: 7 ďAsk, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened...
This is parallel to what James taught from the beginning of chapter one; you must keep on faithfully seeking in the face of trial and problems. But then Jesus adds.'... 9 Who among you will give your children a stone when they ask for bread? 10 Or give them a snake when they ask for fish? 11 If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.'
As we continue in faith, we must believe that God will answer in a loving manner; we must not be double-minded, as James puts it. Jesus than closes the point...'...12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.'
We must faithfully seek a loving God and be willing to show the same love to others that God shows to us. It is this last point that James hammers home '... You donít have because you donít ask. 3 You ask and donít have because you ask with evil intentions, to waste it on your own cravings. ' They were so wrapped up in their own gree and desire, that they could not be the faithful, loving, peaceful people that God wants.
What is hard for people to see in the Letter of James is that James is progressively drawing a picture of the true Christian. He starts out in chapter one with the declaration of blessing of those who perseve through trial and who faithfully seek the wisdom God gives. Then, we must act faithfully in expressing the same love to others that God shows to us, that is the gist of chapter two; true faith must express itself in acts of love to others or die. Chapter three stresses the maturity of keeping our passion bridled and seeking the peace that comes as we continually seek the wisdom that comes from above. This growth, or lack of it, will be reflected in our prayer life.
We have, at this point, come full circle back to the starting point of prayer. Our prayer life becomes a reflection of how we grow and mature in our life with God. If one is stunted in growth and loaded with serious problems, the other will be also. How we speak to, ac towards, and treat others will affect how we speak to, act towards and treat God. John, in his first letter, asked a good question, 'How can say you love God whom you have not see and yet hate your brother whom you have seen?'. One will be or should be a reflection of the other.