Does it seem to you, as it does me, that wisdom, true godly wisdom, is in short supply in the world in which we live? Notice I said true godly wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world which is ungodly. It is “earthly, natural, and demonic” (James 3:15). Worldly wisdom results in jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder (chaos), and everything evil (James 3:16). We see worldly wisdom manifested on every front in our culture: on college campuses, in the media, from Hollywood, in politics, in homes, and in corporations. Whenever we hear or read about policies, values, actions, or teaching that flies in the face of what the Bible teaches, we are seeing worldly wisdom on display.
So what does true godly wisdom look like and, more importantly, how do we get it? James 3:17, 18, calls it “wisdom from above.” It is wisdom that is diametrically opposed to the wisdom of this world. True godly wisdom is rooted in the character of God and the teaching of His Word. It shows itself through purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, mercifulness, fruitfulness, stability, and no hypocrisy.
An example of true godly wisdom would be Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well (John 4). In this fascinating dialogue, although He’s alone with her, Jesus deals with her in absolute purity and integrity. He deals with her gently and mercifully even though she is an unclean woman having had five husbands and currently cohabiting with another. He answers her question about where worship of God should take place. He does not condemn or shame her. He points her to Himself and in one of the most dramatic statements in the Bible, He replies to her query about the Messiah (Christ), “I who speak to you am He.” Were you in her shoes, that would rock your world! She was face-to-face with God!
How do we get true godly wisdom? James answers that question in 3:13. If you and I would get true wisdom according to God’s standards, we must conform our behavior to the principles and values in the Bible. That presupposes that you and I read the Bible and apply the truths we read to our lives. True godly wisdom shows itself in godly works not merely godly words or beliefs (James 3:13, 2:24). You aren’t wise simply because you have been a Christian for many years or because you believe right doctrine or have advanced degrees in theology (cf. James 2:19). Those with true godly wisdom have practiced applying the Word to life and are able to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). They know what is of God and what isn’t. So here’s my formula: Read the Word, Apply the Word, Become Wise.
Get Godly wisdom,