“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17.
Different people have a different perspective on what makes a person wise. When you are a kid, people with glasses can look wise. People with gray hair are wise because of all he or she has experienced in life. People with two or three degrees are assumed to be wise, or somebody who has read all the works of Shakespeare and actually understands it.
We all have a desire to be wise. We like to understand how things work, to be able to answer questions, to make decisions, and to share what we know. We all seek knowledge. Solomon certainly did. In 1 Kings 3, we learn that instead of requesting material riches, comfort, or pleasure, Solomon desired to advance God’s kingdom through wise leadership. Because God was so pleased with Solomon’s request, He granted it and gave him much more. Solomon began his royal reign as the wisest man on Earth with great wealth and honor. At some point in his life, Solomon grew to love God’s blessings more than God Himself. He elevated his earthly wisdom above godly wisdom. Solomon forgot that it is the wisdom of God that answers our every need and gives us a true perspective on life’s deepest questions. In all his wisdom, Solomon discovered that wisdom apart from God, left him unfulfilled and discontented.
The Bible teaches us a great deal about wisdom and knowledge in addition to showing us that there is a distinction. One can gain a great deal of knowledge, but not have or exercise wisdom. However, one cannot have wisdom without having knowledge first. James tells us that “ If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13) There are two kinds of wisdom: biblical wisdom and unbiblical wisdom. Unbiblical wisdom, James says, is rooted in jealousy and self-ambition and produces disorder. Biblical wisdom, however, bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit abiding in the Christian. James is telling us that humility before God translates to humility toward others.
“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” –Proverbs 1:7. If you have been following the Lord for any length of time, you know that the world’s ways do not reflect God’s ways. The world will tell you where to look for wisdom and for happiness. The world will tell you that immediate happiness is the most important goal for your life. The world will tell you there is no absolute truth. However, God’s wisdom surpasses all of the world’s wisdom.
- What are the characteristics of earthly and heavenly wisdom found in James 3:13-18?
- How can wisdom help us be better peacemakers?