James 3:13-18

James 3:13-18 … Thus far in James 3, the danger of misspoken and hurtful remarks has been covered, which is certainly important. But now, this practical (and inspired) writer probes deeper into motivation. Notice the words jealousy and selfish ambition in James 3:14. These are inner traits that nearly everyone has felt at some time: jealousy is an obvious problem, and note that it’s selfish ambition, not ambition itself, that causes hurt. James doesn’t mince words; he calls these attributes evil and demonic! (James 3:15-16) So these are things that a godly person will want to be watchful for and replace them with the fruits of a spiritual life (the fruits of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22), which is what James 3:17 is summarizing.

He concludes with a great statement (3:18) that the “seeds of righteousness are sown.” Henry Drummond, a Scottish natural scientist of the late nineteenth century (and a great preacher as well), wrote a little book, now in the public domain, called the “Natural Law in the Spiritual World” where he makes the point that some people feel that spiritual attributes like love, joy, peace, etc. must fall out of the sky or something. No, Drummond maintains, based on James 3:18, the fruits of righteousness are sown like seeds into the world through the gifted ministry of believers. And if that sowing happens, the seeds of righteousness will grow. That’s the challenge to us that ends this third chapter of James: sow seeds of righteousness.

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