Jedi Master Yoda was known for his astute wisdom. (and his unique sentence structure!) “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is. Always is motion the future is. Anger, fear, aggression, the dark side are they. Wow! that one matches up with the wisdom of Scripture! “If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.” I John 2:9
One particular quote points to how wisdom leads us to act : “Do, or do not…there is no try.”
What you do reveals your belief. Do what you believe. Trying reveals nothing. James (Jesus’ earthly brother and the author of the Book of James) spoke about this throughout his entire book, starting in the first chapter:
“Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 (NCV)
James was writing to new believers who were getting all wrapped up with the argument of who among them had the ‘truth’. Which of the leaders should we listen to? In today’s world this is an enormous roadblock. We spend our energy, emotion, and time over which leaders are speaking the truth!!
What your faith is fastened to? What is the object of your faith? The strength of faith is directly related to the strength of what you believe in. Who are you believing in? A believer who has chosen to follow Christ accepts Him as the Truth. Putting faith in mankind and in ourselves can lead us away from the wisdom God wants us to have. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6
James confronts us—acting out, living out our faith in Christ is honoring God’s Truth. Do you want to be counted as wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.
“Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom…Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. James 3:13-18
Knowledge is of no benefit until it affects behavior in the right way. Our faith determines our day-to-day response to God. It’s the words that come out of our mouths. It’s our interaction with each other that speak what we believe. Throughout his book James gives examples of those who say they know about God’s Word but fail to act on it.
Ignoring a person in need and just sending him on his way saying, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat, but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing.” (chapter 2)
Praising God with your voice, but later saying something hurtful to someone close to you. “We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself. Praises and curses come from the same mouth!” (chapter 3)
Professing to love God but falling easily into arguing and fighting. “Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you.” (chapter 4)
Speaking of trusting God but allowing the world to lure you with wanting ‘stuff’ or power. “You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time…Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.” (chapter 4)
This isn’t about judging someone else. It’s more about honest self-reflection. The God who gives us His wisdom is always listening and watching. There is no fooling God. He knows the real us. He is longing for us to really show others what we have learned about Him—to share how amazing He is by our the way we live.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (ESV)
Joe Stowell, author and university president, in “The Truth…for Jesus’ Sake“, shares his thoughts about not just hearing the truth, but doing the truth:
“Let’s face it: Sometimes we have to show up for Jesus before we can speak up for Him. We need to show we care by reaching out and meeting the more difficult and not-so-easy-to-deal-with needs of people around us. To tutor an underprivileged kid, to care for a man dying from AIDS, to sit in silence with someone at a nursing home, to visit a widow and help her with her laundry. Maybe, just maybe, after that, we can tell them the truth about what we know to be true in Jesus. Believe me, a heart that knows you really care might just be ready to care for the Jesus who made you care for them in the first place.”
The miracle of all this is when the Holy Spirit of the Living God changes us, transforms us. And then He creates the power, the desire, the possibility to show up for Him. It’s all about being willing and asking for that change.
Do, or Do Not…there is No Try.