If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. … the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.James 3:13, 17-18 NLT
In James 3:13 – 18, James continues his instruction reminding us that we are to be doers of the Word, walking worthy of our calling by living a Godly lifestyle. He explains that our lives will exhibit wisdom. And when we do, we experience the harmony and unity God intended. In this passage, we see echoes of the Beatitudes and the fruit of the Spirit.
The Source of Wisdom
Worshiping God and recognizing His authority in our lives is the beginning of wisdom: “The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence], And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight”(Proverbs 9:10 AMP)
We must seek wisdom from God – and if we seek it, we find it! “Yes, if you cry out for insight, and lift up your voice for understanding; If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver and search for her as you would hidden treasures; Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] And discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:3-5 AMP).
When we are deficient in wisdom, we should ask God who gives to us generously! “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 CSB)
We get wisdom by asking and by studying God’s word! “The Eternal’s law is perfect, turning lives around. His words are reliable and true, instilling wisdom to open minds” (Psalm 19:7 VOICE)
The Characteristics of Wisdom
Notice that in James 3:13-18, we have a list of the characteristics of wisdom. They look remarkably similar to the fruit of the Spirit that Paul writes about in Galatians 5.
- Humility – God “leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way” Psalm 25:9 NLT.
- Good works – “You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it” Matthew 5:16 VOICE.
- Gentleness – “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” Ephesians 4:2 NLT.
- Consideration for others – “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” Romans 12:10 ESV
- Peace-making – “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” Ephesians 4:3 NLT.
- Mercy – “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” Colossians 3:12 NLT.
- Sincerity – “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” 1 Timothy 1:5 ESV.
The Outcome of Wisdom
The outcome of wisdom is a harvest of righteousness. But that righteousness only grows in a climate of peace. And that peace is illustrated by our unity in the family of God.
We reflect God’s glory in our unity! Unity is possible because we have been gifted with the same glory given to Jesus by the Father. Unity is not uniformity, it is not organizational, and it is not about “religion.” Unity is harmony in the body of Christ – demonstrating our common purpose, love, and concern – in everything we do, glorifying our Father. And this is the outcome of Godly wisdom!
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:22 – 23 NIV