When I was a kid, I read the word "chaos" and understood what it meant. In other words, I was able to use it in a sentence correctly. I could spell it too. What I didn't understand however, was the pronunciation. I took the intital digraph (ch, sh, th, etc.) and instead of pronouncing it with a hard 'c' sound, pronounced the 'ch' as in "chapter" and probably made a fool of myself ("CHOW-ohs"). I think I came to the realization that I was mispronouncing it on my own. Which is good. There were other words however (awry, ciao, duodenum), where I was informed with derision that I was mispronouncing them. Kind of embarrassing. But that's only two-thirds of the battle right? Maybe less (I really couldn't care less now). I mean if you can spell it and you know what it means, you're already on your way right?
In Genesis, God brought order out of chaos. The reason I say this is because I don't know why God would create the earth (Genesis 1:1) and have it be automatically—as if by default—covered in water. "And darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2)
"O Lord, Thou knowest." (Psalm 40:9)
But I'm not here to talk about these things. I am here, however, to talk about what it takes to bring order out of the chaos of our lives. About chaos theory...
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." (James 3:16, emphasis mine)
What do you think of when you read that? If you were to search your heart, would you find some vestige of envy for something or for someone? I'm talking to myself here too, you know. If envy, as James is saying here, is a precursor to confusion—or chaos as I'm going to term it—could it be that we're participating in envy? God forbid that something so outmoded and impercebtible would be at the root of the mental torment and confusion that we experience. Sometimes on a daily basis. Maybe, just maybe, are we doing things that inspire envy in other people? Literally causing someone else to envy us? And what does he mean by strife? The Strong's definition for strife includes such descriptors as intrigue and contention. What would be the motive for doing these things?
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Paul writes Timothy and says "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7, emphasis mine) Paul identifies the counterpart of a sound mind to be "the spirit of fear". Confusion, chaos, fear. All three qualities are the opposite of a "sound mind". And when we are afraid that God won't meet our needs or see to it that we get what we want or what we deserve, then I can see how obtaining said items by envy or strife might seem like a reasonable proposition. But it always leads to confusion.
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Isaiah 57:20)
God wants to move by His Spirit upon your waters and calm them. Upon mine. I find this to be one of the main points of tension in my life. When I think that what God has given me is not as good as what someone else has, let alone thinking that I don't have anything at all, then I'm dipping my toes in the water of envy. Stirring up the "mire and dirt", as it were. Why should I spend my time worrying about what other people have when clearly I know (do I?) that God Himself has taken the time to answer my prayers and meet my needs. And this isn't enough? That's ridiculous. "And if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things." (2 Samuel 12:8)
"All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and He to whom the Son will reveal Him." (Luke 10:22)
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
And I think this is where things break down. Forgive my wide-angle, free associations here. With reference to my childhood mispronunciations, it would seem I'm doing the same with God's word. I might know how to spell it and how to use it in a sentence but when I really apply it in conversation, is it being mispronounced? Is it in your life? This is why we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us with the pronunciation of our conversation.
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:5-6)