Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.
Remember how much bravery it took in elementary school to swing across monkey bars? When clenching our fists onto two bars, we felt decently safe. But then came the suspended moment of unclenching one grasp to swing forward onto the next bar. Letting go meant moving forward. I want to use this metaphor of a clenched fist to help us identify areas in which we are and are not trusting God.
Consider for a moment: What are you holding onto with a clenched fist that you know is holding you back from forward movement with the Lord? Bitterness? The need for approval from man? Possessions? An unhealthy relationship? Overthinking? The need for control of a conflict?
“Clenched-fist” type behavior is operating out of a scarcity mindset- a mindset that needs to hold on for fear of not having anything else to hold onto. But friends, when we trust the Lord, we begin to operate with “open-hands” type behavior out of an abundance mindset. Our abundance is sourced from a well that never runs dry because it comes from God Himself. There is no need for clenched fists when we have such a glorious never-ending supply of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, love, provision, guidance, and wisdom. The abundance mindset sounds like this: “I can let go of my grudge because I have been forgiven. I can give freely of my time and resources because He is generous with me. I can release my need for revenge or control because God is just and sovereign.
A great passage to help us understand this concept is James 3:13-18. As you read it, you can see the clear contrast between those operating out of clench-fisted scarcity ((bitterness, jealousy, selfishness, denial) versus those operating out of open-handed abundance (merciful, reasonable, gentle, no pretense).
Let us put our trust in God's character, loosen our grip on the things we assume are scarce, and move forward in all the abundance God has for us.
God, help me unclench my grasp on the things I am trusting in besides you. Thank you for being the trustworthy source of all the abundance I need.