What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word wisdom? Is there a specific person you think of? Is it knowledge? Is it creative thinking? Do you think of an old person? Does it require a wide range of experiences?
The wisdom of this world is often equated to being intelligent and having significant experience. We discover people who have both make good decisions and give good advice. The corporate world is always looking for these types of people.
Many of us, as individuals, also seek advice from people who are smart and have a wide variety of experiences. Specifically, we look for people who have experience with something we are currently encountering or may be looking to tackle. For example, if I was going to build a house on my own, I would specifically look for someone who had electrical and plumbing experience. I’ve worked with wood and believe I could follow simple instructions to put on siding and a roof. But I would be looking to fill my gaps of knowledge with someone whom I could trust and has those experiences.
But how does wisdom look from our Christian perspective? More importantly, how does it look from God’s perspective. There is a marked difference between worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom. All we need to do to see the difference is read today’s passage from James.
First, James states God’s wisdom is pure. It isn’t tainted with biases. He goes on to say it is peace-loving, meaning He desires to grant peace and rest to each one of us. It includes being considerate, both of others and ourselves. Being wise is being submissive to God. Following His commands to the degree we can.
God’s wisdom is full of mercy and good fruit. Have you considered that mercy produces good fruit? When we are merciful toward others, especially when they know they don’t deserve it, good fruit can come from it. We may see those folks turn around, make a positive change.
James finishes up by stating wisdom is impartial and sincere. That can be a problem for us, can’t it? We see partiality everywhere we look. We hear, “If you don’t look out for yourself, who will?” Being impartial can be very difficult, even when we truly want to be. Sincerity is a little easier for us to handle. Yet the wording of James passage puts these two together, working hand-in-hand.
I pray we all seek the wisdom of God. I pray we ask God to work these qualities of wisdom in us. I pray each one of us commits to becoming wiser as described by James. Be wise. Seek God’s wisdom. Ask God for wisdom. Understand God’s wisdom.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.