How To Be An Influencer- Part 2

--from October 22nd  --
This week’s devotions written by Michael Brittenham

Day 1

Read James 3:13 and Matthew 5:1-12

There is an old saying that goes “You have two ears and one mouth, you should listen twice as much as you speak.”  This is not simply a math problem.  Someone learned this lesson the hard way and it has become wisdom.  Why do we hear this quote from time to time? Because there is truth in it!  This truth is unfortunately far too absent in our world today.  We see and hear people spouting their views and the noise just gets louder.  Jesus, in the beatitudes (Matthew 5), speaks of several characteristics that Kingdom citizens should have.  What stands out to me is what’s missing from that list.  There is no mention of eloquent speech, many words, and compelling arguments.  I feel like I should keep this one short for some reason…
Are you exercising wisdom and listening?   How have you done this lately?

Do you feel like you must give your opinion in every situation? Where does that come from for you?

Would others consider your wisdom quiet and meek? Why would they say that, and if it is needed, how do you change that?

Share some thoughts about quiet and meek wisdom on the Keystone App messaging section under “5 Day Study Discussions” thread.

Day 2

Read James 3:14 and Proverbs 16:18 

Yesterday we looked at the meekness of wisdom, today let’s talk about boasting.  Proverbs teaches that “pride goes before destruction” but why is that?  The thing about pride is that it is entirely self-focused.  Look at what I have done!  This is in direct opposition to our relationship with God.  Yes, we do things but nothing that we have, or our successes are truly our own.  Pride and boasting reveals the nature of our own heart in the same way that meekness and humility do.  There is a parallel here between our behavior, what’s in our heart, and the fruit that we bear which we’ll talk about later this week. 

What are your words saying about you? 

Do you give yourself, or God, the glory?

If you had to be honest, what area do you struggle with boasting about?

How can you see that this is a problem and what is the danger in your life?

Day 3

Read James 3:15 and Proverbs 2:1-6 

Is there such a thing as earthly wisdom?  James seems to be telling us the answer is no and I agree.  I do not know what the right word is for “earthly wisdom,” but James very bluntly calls it unspiritual and demonic.  I believe that for something to be true wisdom it must be grounded in truth.  I am not talking about truth as the world sees it but absolute Truth.  That kind of truth only comes from Jesus who clearly said He is the Truth.  How often do we see those the world thinks of as wise looking foolish?  We will revisit wisdom from above in a couple of days, but the truth is that the only real wisdom comes from God. 

Do you agree there is really no source of earthly wisdom? 

Do you cling to wisdom that is really a false wisdom?  How do you or have you seen others do this specifically?

What is the source of your wisdom?  Why do you think this is your source?

Day 4

Read James 3:16 and Galatians 5:16-26 

Today and tomorrow, we are going to look at fruit from two different perspectives.  There is an interesting parallel between what James says in verses 16-18 and the fruit described by Paul in Galatians 5.  We hear a lot about the fruit of the spirit but often overlook the verses right before.  These certainly are not characteristics to aspire to, but we should know how to identify the works of the flesh and understand how they stand apart from the fruit of the spirit.  This ties into the idea of earthly wisdom vs. wisdom from above.  James simply refers to disorder and every vile practice.  The list in Galatians certainly fits that description.   

Examine your life and see if any of these show up for you? 

Ask yourself if you are trying harder to find vile practices in others than you are in yourself? Why do we find it easier to see it in other people than ourselves?

When we see this in those we care about do we make excuses for them?  How can you approach someone in a way that is loving and beneficial for them?

Day 5

Read James 3:17-18 and Galatians 5:16-26 (again) 

So where does this all lead?  If you have worked through all five devotions this week you may have seen this one coming.  If not, comparing today’s verses should highlight the parallel pretty well.  Wisdom comes from discovering the truth through life’s experiences.  Sometimes these are experiences, or trials, that God takes us through to help us learn.  The only source of truth is God, and his Holy Spirit indwells us.  If we are filled with truth, then it only makes sense that the fruit we bear will be good fruit as well.  Do not look at your past fruit because that is in the past and Jesus has dealt with that.  Look at today and what fruit you are bearing, then give that to God and let Him work out his wisdom in you. 

What kind of fruit are you bearing? How do you find the fruit in your life?

How can you draw closer to the source of life and bear better fruit?

Take some time to share how these verses have helped you in your life this week on the messaging section titled “5 Day Study Discussions”.

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