“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.” (James 3:17-18)
Do you have a list or schedule of things to do today? I counted seven significant things on my calendar, including one meeting, one lunch appointment, and various other time-consuming tasks. While you and I may need to finish our tasks for today, it should be a priority to do them all with “wisdom from above.” James lists eight characteristics of godly wisdom in verse 17, available to us with the asking.
Only true wisdom from God can be pure, since he alone is without impurities and disorder, as described in verses 14-16. This is a vital reminder that the wisdom we seek is not our own, does not come from inside of us, and cannot be produced by the right attitude, no matter how hard we try. The only way to acquire God’s pure wisdom is to receive it by his grace through our union with Jesus Christ, who is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).
The next three qualities of godly wisdom mentioned by James logically follow from submission to God: peacefulness, gentleness, and being teachable (open to reason). These are in direct contrast to bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, clearly not from above, but are from the world, leading to disorder (James 1:14-16). Do we manifest peace, gentleness, and teachableness, confirming that we have wisdom from above? If so, we will also be full of mercy and good fruits with fairness and authenticity. Perhaps we should use this list as a litmus test of our character, realizing that any failures on our part are the result of a lacking contriteness. Only by recognizing our lack of humility can we repent, asking the Lord to strengthen our faith. Our faithfulness will yield more peace by which God’s righteousness will abound (v. 18).
Will these qualities characterize your approach today in the midst of a world that craves unyielding opinions and strong emotional responses? Will you submit yourself to God for the wisdom you desire, to enjoy its benefits of righteousness?
“It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)