“Who is wise and understanding among you?” James asks. Wisdom is more than knowledge and accumulation of information. Wisdom is action; found in the living. In the Old Testament we learn that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In the teachings of Jesus, we learn that the wise person rooted in God’s truth and character. He or she hates injustice and evil; loves righteousness; is alert and ready for His return. Wisdom is a manifestation of faith and spiritual living.
“By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” James continues. True wisdom will show...in our conduct, in our good works, in our attitude and posture toward others.
So, how do we know if we are wise? If we have wisdom that is from God and not from the world? James offers a series of tests by which we can verify the genuineness of their faith, because when are truly saved and genuinely know God, we display a wisdom that looks and acts like it is of God. The wisdom we display is a reflection of the kind of a person we are.
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” James tells us that ungodly wisdom looks like BITTER JEALOUSLY and SELFISH AMBITION. It’s a heart issue. It is a life of self-focus, protecting our turf and/or wanting more for ourselves. John MacArthur describes it, “They are resentful of anyone who threatens their territory, who threatens their accomplishments, who threatens their reputation, who threatens to crowd their little slice of this world. Human wisdom, then, is self-focused, and any self-focused person has a tremendous problem with bitter jealousy.”
Wisdom from the world looks like attitude and action based on self...comparison, tension, competition. It looks like drifting with the tides of culture and self, rather than anchored in God’s ways. It looks like personal gratification...no humility, no love, no seeking the interest of others. James further gives us a picture of the consequences of earthly wisdom in action, “there will be disorder and every vile practice.” It wreaks havoc on us and those around us.
Wisdom from God looks vastly different, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Pure motives. Love of peace. Humble. Patient. Forgiving. Yielding. Merciful. Compassionate. Reasonable. No partiality. No hypocrisy or hidden motives. God, please fill me with not just more knowledge, but with YOUR wisdom and let my life be a reflection of You. You must become greater, I must become less.
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