January 27

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 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.” (James 3:13-16)

The wise believer acquires biblical wisdom from Christ, who was, is, and ever will be perfect and without sin. Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life in his incarnation, conforming to the Ten Commandants.  The Tenth Commandment says: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). However, the world today thrives on the concept of coveting that which we do not have, promoting and esteeming jealousy and sinful ambition. These are character traits of Satan, who is unspiritual and demonic, seeking to encourage disorder and vile practices.

We are barraged with offers and find ourselves watching the advertisements, reading the catalogues, responding to the emails, thinking we should take advantage of coupons and sales when we already have everything we need. Where is the wisdom for dealing with this overwhelming onslaught from the world? John writes, “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)

If we are to be wise Christians we must keep God’s commandments, but we are unable to do so. (See Romans 7.) Rather than despair, we run to Christ for glorious blessing of confession and forgiveness, followed by repentance. John did not intend for us to wallow in our sin and guilt but advises us, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

The wise in Christ reject the premise of our world—that our satisfaction lies in our earthly condition or possessions. Where will you find your satisfaction today?

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