Monday Reflection – July 01, 2019
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. James 3:13
Wisdom? What is that? While there are many persons who walk around boasting about how wise they are, there are some who struggle to come to grips with what it means to be wise. The latter becomes real when we reflect on the many foolish thoughts and ideas that we have had; the many foolish words we have spoken; the many foolish things we have done. Some of us wonder whether we can claim any measure of wisdom. I have always believed that wisdom is grounded in knowledge; there is no wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom therefore is the capacity to use knowledge appropriately.
The straight-shooter James clarifies for us what wisdom is and outlines that there are two kinds of wisdom. Hear him in chapter 3: 13-18:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
For James, when it comes to wisdom:
1. It must be shown by our good life – Wisdom is not hidden or kept a secret, suppressed nor buried. Wisdom is shown, more so revealed by and in the way we live. We need not declare to anyone that we are wise, it will be seen.
2. Our works must be done with gentleness – Those who are wise are not arrogant and boastful, but humble and gentle. This gentleness recognizes that others may not be as mature and developed as we are. In any case, the wise know that all that we are and all that we have is because of the manifold grace of God. The wise are disciples of Christ who walk alongside others and help them to grow and mature in Christ.
3. The signs are the Fruit of the Spirit – James distinguishes the earthly, unspiritual and devilish kind of wisdom from the heavenly and godly. The former may be described as the works of the flesh, while the latter is the fruit of the Spirit. The truly wise are those who bear the fruit of the Spirit in their daily lives, including love, joy, peace, purity, gentleness, willing to yield, mercy, impartiality and honesty. True wisdom comes from God and is dispensed by God in differing measure to whom he chooses.
As we pursue wisdom, a good place to begin is to join with David in today’s Watchword, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”Psalm 139:23-24