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Day 20 | Peace Application

Read James 3:13–4:10

So how do we respond to God’s peace? How do we seek to be people of peace like God is the God of peace? James helps us see this by contrasting the negative and by explaining the positive.

Envy and selfish ambition are antithetical to God’s peace. Immediately after James equivocates peace and righteousness in 3:18, he rhetorically asks why his audience doesn’t have that peace. Then he explains how the envy and selfish ambition in 3:13–16 results in not only wars “among you,” but also war “within you.” Not only do they lack peace in their groups, they don’t even have peace within their own minds! James goes even further than conflict in and among people to say that this envy and selfish ambition results in conflict with God Himself. Certainly, this is not the unity and confidence that characterizes God’s peace.

But positively, James explains how righteousness, wisdom, and peace are all interrelated. If one is present, then the others naturally follow. The wisdom that comes from God naturally results in a love for peace. And that love for peace is accompanied by good fruit, namely the fruit of righteousness. But how do we get that fruit of righteousness? By working in peace so that we can gain more peace. So wisdom, righteousness, and peace are all deeply interconnected.

So, back to our original question, “How can we be people of peace?” We must first recognize that this peace does not come to us naturally. Our natural inclination is to be bitterly envious and selfishly ambitious. Therefore we need to look outside of ourselves for God’s peace. We must ask Him to make us people of peace. James makes it clear in this passage and earlier (1:5–8) that God will give us the things we ask for, but with a big “if.” God will help us be more like Him if we ask truly believing that He will provide, and for the purpose of glorifying Him, not ourselves.

Pray for 10 minutes