Beloved: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.
“I can do so much, and only so much.”
Lately, I have been struck with how many times a day I compare myself, or my situation in life, with someone else. Unfortunately, this is a common practice and one that rarely causes me comfort. It almost always seems “greener” when looking at someone else’s predicament—they do it better, more beautifully, easier that I can. And this comparison breeds jealousy which, James cautions, also creates “disorder”. I would agree with that both in my heart and mind.
I feel that this reading is bringing my attention to my need for humility in accepting all that I am. I can do so much, and only so much. At some point, I will confront a limitation and no matter of comparing to another person helps me in accepting this reality peacefully. Often times, I turn to my husband to help me in this way—both naming my limitations and accepting them. He is able to bring a kind and gentle eye to me and I feel that in a good marriage, this is an exceptional gift!