I’m pretty sure that all of you know at this point our country isn’t doing too well. Because of the pandemic, it has been reported that 38.6 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March making the total percentage at 23.7% of our working population. Now add to that number those graduating from high school and college looking for work and the number is staggering. On top of all this, we are a country trying to reboot cautiously as the numbers of COVID-19 cases are still on the rise in some states, as people head to parks and beaches after being cooped up in the house for weeks on end. And let us not forget that if the virus isn’t bad enough, we now are a country more divided than ever because of the violently thoughtless, mean spirited, and malicious murdering behavior of one police officer, while other officers looked on passively as George Floyd died a senseless agonizing death. As a repercussion, some of our largest cities are now burning as protesters have turned violent, leaving in their wake a trail of burned out cars, buildings, and businesses. Of course, the mainstream media should take some credit for all this, as they continue to fuel the fire (no pun intended) by showing the same news bites night after night, causing the division to widen even more between black, whites, and the Blue.
Living in the Mohawk Valley we are somewhat isolated from what we see on the TV screen every night. That doesn’t mean we don’t care. I don’t know about you, but I’m upset, angry, and weeping for the country that I love. The last few months have driven me to my knees begging God to heal our nation, wanting Him to move this country to a new spiritual awakening where people of all races, all ethnicities, and all economic levels might see the salvation provided through Jesus Christ.
Our country needs to be healed, but it will not happen unless Jesus Christ brings healing and health through His plan of salvation. There is not one social plan out there, not enough money, not enough racial equality, not enough jobs, nor enough healthcare in our society that will stop the torrential flow of hate, anger, and violence that we have recently experienced as a nation. More to the point, people who have, always want more. Rich or poor, free or bond, there is always the desire to have what others have, and to have more of it. It matters little to a selfish person how they get it as long as they get what they want. And when it comes to power, we have all seen this great nation of ours being locked in a power struggle for what seems to be eons. But as believers, we also know that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph.6:12).
A couple of week ago Pastor Chris taught us a lesson out of the Book of James 1:19-21 where he listed five things that we need to know in relationship to the Word of God. Those five things are:
- Swiftness to Hear
- Slowness to Sin
- Willingness to Receive
- Meekness to Plant
- Completeness to Grow
While listening to Pastor Chris and following along in the Scriptures under study, verse twenty caught my attention and from that point on I became very distracted by it. Of course, I could blame it on my childhood ADD kicking in again but I believe God was trying to get my attention (sounds spiritual doesn’t it 😊). You see all the things the Senior Pastor listed are in deep contrast to what man (saved or not saved) will produce when left to himself. James writes most pointedly, “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Man left to himself will never produce God’s righteousness that comes from being a quick listener, slow sinner, a ready receiver, a forbearing planter, or a completed spiritual product. Why? Because at the root of our nature is always to produce what is always there—control, power, greed, lust, pride, and the want of more. And when we don’t get what we want, we resort to wrath. Wrath is easily defined as a strong vengeful anger or indignation. Other words come to mind like rage, fury, and vexation. Hopefully you get the picture, because none of these things will ever produce the righteousness of God.
As children of the King and Kingdom seekers we will never produce His righteousness by doing it the world’s way. I understand the need for racial equality, financial stability, personal safety, and living a healthy lifestyle. I understand guarding what you have earned through a good work ethic and fiscal responsibility. I’m outraged by the senseless murdering of another human being and my heart breaks for the grief the family of George Floyd experience’s every time the picture of their son, uncle, brother, is played out on live TV to boost the ratings of the mainstream media. But this is exactly what man’s wrath produces and no matter what spin you put on it, it will never produce the righteousness of God.
What will produce the righteousness of God is very simple—Jesus Christ, control of the Holy Spirit and the production of spiritual fruit. Above all else Christians need to be defined by how they react to what is going on around them by what they are producing spiritually (Eph. 5:8-9). The rest of the world is in darkness, but we are not (Eph. 5:8) because we are children of the Light, we see the big picture, we understand who and what are pulling the strings of this world. And we know we cannot do life their way. So, where there is hate, we love, where there is sadness, we bring the joy of Jesus, where there is war we bring the peace of Christ, where there is distrust we bring the faithfulness of Christ, where there is harshness and cruelty we bring gentleness, forgiveness, and mercy. This is what we are, this is what we do to produce the righteousness of God. So, what are you producing in your heart, mind, and actions today? My prayer is for God’s productions of righteousness in our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ.
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus.