We all want to be wise. How do we get wisdom? Let’s start with defining it. Wisdom is knowledge to discern, knowing truth from error, using knowledge. It starts with the thoughts in our heads that lead to words and actions. We get wisdom from one of four places:
- The world’s philosophies
- The stuff in our heads
- The enemy
- From above
James 3:14-16 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Here in James we can see the first three places our thoughts and ideas are formed. Verse 15 describes them as earthly, unspiritual and demonic. When we are processing something are we listening to ideas and values the world promotes through television, internet and music? I’m not saying those mediums are bad in themselves, I’m talking about values that are in contradiction to the Bible.
Secondly there is the stuff in our heads that discourages us and drags us down? You know those voices that say, “You can’t do it, you aren’t good enough.” Or whatever negative, discouraging thing your mind mulls up in any given moment.
Thirdly, the Enemy is trying to deceive us. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Verse 17 talks about the last place to look for wisdom. 7 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
There are ultimately two places to get wisdom.
James 3 talks about the first being a heart of bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Jealousy would be defined as someone getting in the way of something you love. Or, a fear of being robbed of what you love, someone else getting what you want. Selfish ambition would be working for your own personal gain. Or, regarding one’s own happiness chiefly.
The results of these choices? Disorder and every vile practice. Vile is described as base, worthless, depravity. Any time we are listening to the world, our sin nature or the Enemy we are essentially a train wreck waiting to happen. Loving ourselves most isn’t a neutral thing, it is in direct opposition to God.
The second option would be “wisdom from above” which would result in humility. It is displayed with a meekness and gentleness that comes from trusting God, so there is no need of self promotion. You are not seeking your own glory or gain and so there is no need of self defense. You are free to be gracious and giving. The results?
- Pure – unmixed, separate from foreign matter. (the world, my sin nature, the enemy)
- Peaceable – free from turmoil, quiet, Antonyms: commotion, pandemonium, frenzy, clamor, combative.
- Gentle -understanding, compassionate, tender, kind, mild
- Open to reason – willing to learn and be corrected, listening to Godly reason
- Full of mercy – compassion and forgiveness when you have the power to punish
- Good fruits – Gal, 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control”
- Impartial – equal, fair, open minded
- Sincere – honest, pure heart, free from pretense or deceit, genuine, heartfelt
God, Thank you for the perfect example of love a grace you have shown to us. Thank you for your word and truths that set us free and leads us to a life a peace. True wisdom comes from you. When my life is chaotic and I’m in a frenzy, might I stop and evaluate my choices. Thank you for the freedom that comes from trusting you. In Jesus Name. Amen.