Wisdom Through Change: How Are We Using The Wisdom We’ve Been Given?
Wisdom Through Change
Are you on Facebook? If so, you’ve seen quite a lot of posts recently. “The government is corrupt.” “Just stay home.” There is a lot of “wisdom” floating around out there right now that claims to be backed by research. There are a lot of self-proclaimed doctors and scientists parading around social media these days.
The phrase from Pilate comes to mind, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)
In my Lectio Divina session this week we pray and read through James 3:13-18, which says:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Wisdom From Heaven Is Humble
Let’s just stop at humility here in verse 13. Let’s just take a second and remind ourselves what humility means. One definition says, “freedom from pride or arrogance : the quality or state of being humble.”1 Another definition says, “the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.”2
Humility is an essential characteristic of any Christ-follower. We know and understand that we don’t know and understand everything. As Paul says in Romans 12:3, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” We should remember that we are all just one part of the larger body. Our deeds done in humility, James confirms, comes from true wisdom. This should also force us to remember to think of other people, but we’ll get to that.
Wisdom From Heaven Is Loving
There are a lot of changes going on right now in our world and it’s easy for us to become bitter and selfish. It’s easy for us to only think of ourselves and to be angry with anyone who disagrees with us. Jesus-followers, however, are called to a higher standard. Galatians 5:13-15 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Wisdom From Heaven Sows In Peace
That last sentence should be a sharp warning to all of us. When humility is not a central aspect of our lives, neither will love, and consequently, neither will the wisdom that comes from Heaven. James calls us to be peacemakers who sow in peace so that we may reap righteousness. The life of the Christ-follower is not timid, however. Through Christ we are able to endure and persevere through any trouble or hardship (Romans 8 and Philippians 4). There is a holy power in loving like Christ loved. We can disagree with others and still love them, forgive them, and show them mercy.
True wisdom that comes from Heaven, as James proclaims, is rooted in humility, consideration for others, submission, mercy, and sincerity. Christ-followers, this should be our time to shine! While the world seems like it’s going to hell-in-a-handbasket we have the opportunity to rise up and put others’ needs and concerns above our own (Philippians 2:3-4). We can show this world the same loving-kindness that Jesus has for us.
Christians, let us not add to the panic and disorder. Let us instead respond with the “wisdom that comes from Heaven” and love and forgive others with humility and sincerity.
About Justin Boothby
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About The Author
M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University