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What confusion means

April 30, 2009


Do you have those seasons when you’re just confused about stuff? You know that God gives you a sound mind. You know you have the mind of Christ. You know He turns all things to good, but you still feel just lost on whatever it is you’re going through.

(Note: This is in no way a reference to my current unemployment. Really.)

Maybe you thought you were doing something right, or you had a great idea, and it blew up in your face. Maybe you thought something was going to work out, and it really didn’t. Maybe you thought someone was doing something wrong, but it seems like God’s blessing is all over it. And whatever the situation is, it sends your spirit into this uneasy turmoil that you just can’t explain.

Or am I the only one who does this?

I don’t think I am, and I think James solved it for me the other night.

14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

We can all agree with verse 14, right? If you’re bitter and self-centered, knock it off. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to tell when you‘re bitter and/or self-centered. It’s easy to see it in other people, but I tend to resist the idea that I could possibly be bitter or self-seeking.

So James continues in verse 16, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

First, I think it’s interesting that he pulls “confusion” out of “every evil thing.” He could have listed any number of things, but he specifically mentioned “confusion.”

Now, if A = B, then B tends to = A. Is it safe to say that spiritual confusion is a good sign that I’m harboring bitterness and/or self-seeking?

Other “evil things” are obvious signs. If someone’s in the habit of committing adultery, you know there’s something wrong spiritually. You don’t let that person boast in his actions, and when he tries to speak something contrary to the truth we tend to take it with a big grain of salt. We don’t believe him when he tries to tell us it’s not a big deal.

But James says the same thing of “confusion.”

So maybe when we find ourselves in those seasons where it seems like everything’s messed up, or nothing is going as planned – maybe we need to take a step back and honestly evaluate whether we’re being motivated by bitterness or self-seeking. Maybe spiritual confusion should be a big red flag that forces me to step back and admit that I may be the one who is wrong this time.

You think? Or did I totally misinterpret that verse?

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