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. James 3:17 (NIV)
In chapter 3:13 James asks us to ponder a question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” No one wants to be seen as foolish and unwise. We all want to be perceived as intelligent and ‘in the know’. In verse 17 James shows us exactly what wisdom from above looks like and how to personalise it in our lives.
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding. Proverbs 3:13 (NASB)
Finding and applying true wisdom is very important to each and every one of us. When Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that he must be “born again”, He literally said “born from above” using the same word as that in our verse today. Those born again/from above should operate in wisdom from above, not earthly wisdom. James unflatteringly described earthly wisdom in verses 14-15:
But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
In contrast James presents us with seven characteristics or word pictures of godly wisdom: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Two kinds of wisdom – and the evidence is in the fruit. Are you wise? Are you wise according to the world’s ways or according to God’s will? Do you employ the world’s wisdom or do you follow godly wisdom from above?