A Verse About Evangelism

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
James 3:17
This is one of my favourite verses about evangelism. On the surface of it, it doesn’t really seem to be about sharing our faith, but surely wisdom is a key quality required as we attempt to communicate God’s message to the world.
The words James uses to describe wisdom here are purity, peacefulness, gentleness, mercy. If you take James 3 verse 17 and apply it to a person, what kind of person do you picture? Is this the brash, arrogant evangelist who proclaims their message, desperately trying to convince you to change your mind? I suspect not.
If wisdom is pure and sincere then our lives must back up the words that come out of our mouths. If wisdom is peace-loving then we cannot be judgemental or brash in our presentation of the truth. If wisdom is impartial, full of mercy and good fruit, we cannot pass judgement on someone else’s situation. If wisdom is considerate, we must allow people the time and space to develop in their journey of faith, without constantly feeling the need to check up on their spiritual progress. If wisdom is submissive, then we must be humble and allow others to help us and realise that we need them too. We need to be the kind of person with whom people might dare to share their innermost doubts and fears.
In truth, James has really defined the nature of God himself in this verse, not just the nature of wisdom and it is with God’s help that we are called to carry out the nature of God into our friendships, family and community.

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