“All of life is a trial and, therefore, we need God’s wisdom.” That was our guest preacher’s main point yesterday morning, based on James 3:13-18. This Monday morning, I again summarize some of my notebook scratchings for you, and for myself, so that we may continue to be spurred on to love and good deeds and growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
“Who is wise?,” asks James (3:13). The first two verses of chapter three answers the question, at least by informing us as to who needs wisdom. First, teachers and leaders need God’s wisdom because they will be judged by a stricter judgment (3:1) and, second, every believer needs divine wisdom because “we all stumble in many ways” (3:2). But what is biblical wisdom? It is not intellectual knowledge, but is behavioral in nature. Wisdom is marked by obedience and submission and is, therefore, a matter of the will.
What is a chief trait of godly wisdom? Wisdom is demonstrated by a spirit of meekness (NAS = “gentleness” in 3:13). Meekness was a character trait of Moses (Num 12:3) and Jesus (Matt 11:29). Meekness is a sweet submission to God’s sovereignty.
What does worldly wisdom look like? Earthly wisdom, what James actually calls “hellish wisdom” (3:15) is human, sensual, unspiritual, and is the way a demon thinks and acts. It is not known for the beauty of meekness, but instead is marked by bitter jealousy, selfish ambition (desire for promotion), disorder, revolt, and many other unhealthy cravings.
What does godly wisdom look like? Divine wisdom, the wisdom of Jesus Christ, is pure, peaceable (“A person who has met Christ longs for peace.”), gentle, reasonable, full of mercy, full of good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy. Simply stated, a wise man’s life is ‘compassion in action.’ This kind of wisdom flows from a simple, childlike trust in God.
What is the result of divine wisdom? Verse 18 explains the fruit of godly wisdom as a righteous life that pleases God and blesses other people. The more we grow in the practice of biblical wisdom—meekness in action—the more our lives will glorify our Savior and bless others. May we all continue to ask the Lord for His to shower an abundance of His wisdom upon us! Remember, this is the wisdom that He promises to give to those who ask (James 1:5).
[Here’s the link to the audio sermon.]