Who is Wise and Understanding?
James 3:13 ESV
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”
Wisdom: “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment” (Oxford Languages). Thesaurus: insight, good sense, good judgment, perception, discernment, prudence.
I have always thought of wisdom as putting into practice that good knowledge that we do have. For there are a whole lot of very intelligent people with much knowledge stored up in their brains, but many of them lack good sense and good judgment. So I see wisdom as applied knowledge, providing the knowledge itself is wise.
And that segues right into the next sentence. “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” Exactly! It is not head knowledge which reveals wisdom, but it is applied knowledge, again provided the knowledge is good. For example, many of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ know a good amount of Scripture, and the Scriptures themselves teach us how to be wise, but it is not enough to just know these things in our heads, but we have to apply what we know to how we live.
So, we can spout out with our lips all kinds of wise sayings, but it is in our conduct and in our deeds which reveal whether or not we are truly wise people, or if we are just pretending to be wise. Oh, and wisdom is not pride. It is meek. And meekness is not weakness. Jesus was meek, but he definitely was not weak. He overturned tables in the temple courts and drove out merchants with a whip, and he spoke very strong words to the Pharisees who were hypocrites and liars and who took advantage of others. And he spoke hard truths to the people with regard to the gospel message.
So meekness is humility and it is gentle strength, which expresses power with reserve, but not too much reserve. We should never compromise the truth or water it down in an effort to be gentle and to not come across as forceful. And we should speak the truth in love, one to the other, and exhort one another, and spur one another on to love and good deeds. So we don’t hold back telling the truth to people to try to display meekness. That is just fear and selfishness if we withdraw from others the truth they need to hear. So, we speak the truth IN LOVE, but still it must be the truth.
James 3:14-16 ESV
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
I have to tell you a story here. When I was 31 years old, a long time ago, I was in a church situation where I was being judged falsely by the pastor and the elders, for they were judging me by themselves and not by the truth of the Scriptures. Now I was in love with Jesus! He was my life! And I wanted to serve him with my whole heart. And so I volunteered for service. But they saw that as I must want to be seen by others, because, after all, that was their motivation in wanting to serve in the church.
And so they gave me this Scripture (above) to read, and they told me to pray about it and that I would see that this was my problem. But that isn’t what God was saying. And it isn’t that I thought I was perfect, but I knew I was innocent of their charges against me. I knew my relationship with the Lord. I knew my heart motivation. I wanted to serve the Lord because I am his servant, and he has called me to serve him, and because I love him. I don’t care about being seen by others. That is not why I do what I do, not then, and not now at age 73.
So, why am I sharing that with you? The pastor later admitted that they were threatened by me because of my walk of faith in the Lord Jesus and because of the wisdom that God had given to me through what he was teaching me through his word. So, what they were accusing me of they were guilty of themselves. So they went on the all out attack against me because they resented my walk with the Lord and how he was using me and my love for Jesus and my desire to serve him, which they could not comprehend.
So really watch out for this bitter jealousy thing and selfish ambition, because it can lead you down all sorts of wrong paths, and you can end up hurting the innocent and accusing them of what you are guilty of, because bitter jealousy and selfish ambition will cloud your good judgment, and you won’t have good discernment, and you will likely judge others by yourself rather than by the truth of the Scriptures.
Wisdom from Above
James 3:17-18 ESV
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
If we are going to have godly wisdom, we need to be in tune with the Spirit, and we need to be those who are walking by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh. Our minds need to be set on things above, and not on things on the earth. But if we are worldly and fleshly we are not going to have godly wisdom, and so we won’t see the truth clearly, but we will see life through our own lens, instead of through God’s lens. And that will lead to distortions of truth and of good judgment. So make certain you are listening to the Lord Jesus, and that you are following him in his wisdom.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Search Me, O God
An Original Work / July 12, 2012
Based off Psalm 139
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’lly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.