Can you quote the Virginia traffic law governing traffic signs and signals, and how they are to be obeyed? I know I can’t. Can you quote the law regarding lane changes on multi-lane highways? You can’t? Neither can I. For the most part, we can’t quote the traffic rules that governed our trips to church this morning. We had to learn the rules when we were teenagers so we could pass the driver’s test, and we’ve had to learn the rule changes as we’ve continued to drive, but most of us can’t quote the rules.
It’s because we don’t have to. While most of us can’t quote a single traffic law, we know right and wrong when we see it. That generally means when we see something that doesn’t look right or feel right, our guts tell us that something is wrong. It doesn’t take a law degree to know when traffic laws are being violated. We know it because it simply doesn’t look or feel right.
Today’s scripture teaches us that some things look right, and some things don’t. We know when good fruit is being produced. On the other hand, when our “religion” produces division and conflict, it doesn’t look right or feel right. James tells us that when we are following “the wisdom from above,” our actions are “pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” When we see that, we know the Spirit is at work within us.
We’ll talk about this in worship today. What we do here matters.