Which Wisdom?

Last night, at prayer meeting, Joel Wiggin, a young man who grew up in our church and is now training to be a chaplain in the Army, led the Bible study. He had some great thoughts about wisdom that spoke to my heart.

James 3:13-18
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

Wisdom is the basis of how we make decisions and how we act and speak.

Notice the word "meekness" in the first verse. True godly wisdom comes from meekness and humility.

The next few verses describe a different kind of wisdom - the wisdom of this world. It is selfish, full of coveteousness (envying)- wanting the best of everything for itself, wanting its own way. All it's motivation is based on self and the flesh. This wisdom wants to prove itself to be right (strife). It wants to argue and debate and have the last word. It even distorts logic to appear right (lying against the truth).

God says that this wisdom is "earthy" - based on the the things of this wicked world. It is "sensual" - fed by the selfish, fleshly desires of man: greed, pride, and power. Ultimately, it is "devilish" - coming from satan, the father of lies and deceit.

There are those can spout volumes of information. They have acquired years of education. They display their accomplishments and instigate debates. It is all empty knowledge, not true wisdom. They want everyone to look at them and see how smart they are. They don't care about others' feelings and have disdain for those they think are below them.

Look at verse 18. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Godly wisdom is full of God.

Can you see the difference? This wisdom is full of humility. It seeks to be clean (pure), often asking the Lord for forgiveness. It has a softer relationship with those around and doesn't want to stir up trouble. It avoids debates (peaceable). It is sensitive to others' feelings (gentle). True wisdom is approachable and ready to listen (easy to be intreated).

It easily forgives and forgets wrongs (full of mercy), and it is a friend to all - not just the lovely or those who can benefit it (without partiality). It is true through and through. What this person says or how he acts is what he really feels inside (without hypocrisy). This wisdom is the manifestation of God's Spirit.

As James spoke of earlier in this chapter, a person cannot have both "sweet and bitter" coming out of the same place. He will either have earthly, selfish wisdom or a godly, humble wisdom.

Lord, You have said that if I lacked wisdom to ask of You. Lord, I want this godly wisdom. I want to be like You. I want Your Spirit to guide my decisions and actions and words, so that others will see You in me. In Jesus' Name, Amen

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1 comment:

Sherri Ward said...

Humility, gentleness, not needing to have it be "all about me" - just this morning I was praying along these same lines, "Lord, not just make me what you want me to be, but make me like Jesus!"
Really good article, Vonnie!


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