A wise friend of mine and I were talking the other day about her Grad School studies. She's in the process of writing her Thesis and in her studies found an interesting thought (or fact) that related closely to the realities of my life.
She found that the greatest struggle for performers today is character. Because of the politics, ethics and competition, envy, pride and jealousy are seemingly natural reactions to what is going on around them. But for the Christian performer this causes a problem. These struggles are in no way less real because that believer has Jesus. As a fallen race these reactions really are natural. Fighting against them is what is not. So what is the believer to do when faced with these issues. Believe that that gift is from God? Yes. Believe that God is sovereign over the opportunities of your performance? Yes. But try as we might, sometimes we need a little more than this.
As I was thinking about this and repenting of sin in my own life, I discovered that another level of integrity needs to be found that we may continually live above reproach and love as God would have us love in the midst of politics, ethical issues and competition.
Handily, as I was realizing this, I was also reading in the book of James.
In chapter three he speaks of a certain "wisdom from above." Elusive? Yes. Let me expand.
Sometimes we think we're smarter than we are. We develop an arrogance in our hearts that tells us that we are it. When this isn't fulfilled then, pride, jealously, envy, all occur.
James writes that this wisdom, the wisdom of our own hearts is not from above. It is the wisdom of the earth. You don't have to be a genius to realize that the earthly population isn't very wise. Yet, we continually live as though we have the answers; as though we are the answer.
James goes on to write that "where jealously and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing" (3.16). Chaos and panic ensue when we are trying to live for ourselves and provide ourselves with the wisdom to live rightly. This may be the answer to all of our problems.
The answer is for us to live not pridefully, or with jealousy raging in our hearts but instead purely, in peace, gentlely, reasonably, mercifully and without hypocrisy (3.17).
Pat answer? Maybe. Truth? Yes.
I had to make amends with a few people last week for the pride and envy toward them that I was living with. Since then, I have been able to look at them not in envy, but in love knowing that God is sovereign and he created them in love as much as he created me in love.
This is the wisdom from above. This will never cause us to fall.
Pride however . . .