“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.” (James 3:17 – NIV)
I have learned of wisdom, how to receive it, why I should want it, and who is willing to give me wisdom. But what I’ve never noticed is this list. The list of qualities wisdom possesses and then bestows upon its recipient.
So let’s break this down and learn a little more about wisdom.
Wisdom is Pure
James gives purity first place in the list. David asked that God create in him a pure heart (Psalm 51:10). Free from contamination of the world. Wisdom from God will always be pure.
Wisdom is Peace-loving
I know there are some people in this world who love to “stir the pot.” Perhaps they aren’t really trying to start a fight, but they try to cause some kind of friction. When we possess Godly wisdom, this action would never be part of our lives. Jesus spoke of peacemakers during His Sermon on the Mount. Peacemakers will be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9). I think that is a title I’d like to possess.
Wisdom is Considerate
Caring about others and how they are feeling makes this list because it is a characteristic of God. When we show kindness to others, God’s wisdom is evident. Ephesians 4:32a (NIV) tells us to “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” Being considerate was Jesus’ way of life. It should be ours as well.
Wisdom is Submissive
I know submission isn’t a popular topic and it isn’t just for women. Everyone is to submit (Romans 13:1; Ephesians 5:21; James 4:7). Being submissive in God’s wisdom shows great strength. Staying within God’s boundaries and allowing His ways to be your ways shows submission.
Wisdom is Full of Mercy
God has granted mercy to His believers. Receiving mercy leads to extending mercy. That is part of wisdom. James also says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13b – NIV) I don’t know about you, but God’s mercy that is triumphant is exactly what I seek. And when I possess God’s wisdom, I must be merciful to others just as God is merciful to me.
Wisdom is Full of Good Fruit
I don’t like fruit. I like fake fruit even more. God’s fruit, of course, is another matter. When His fruit is abundant in my life, I have allowed the Vinedresser to do His work in me (John 15:1-8). I’ve allowed His pruning, His cutting out of the non-bearing fruit branches, and have accepted His call to remain in Him. The result is an abundance of fruit and wisdom. As a side note, God doesn’t like “fake fruit” either.
Wisdom is Impartial
James speaks of this topic in his book. Favoritism in God’s Kingdom is strictly forbidden. I love the verse, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5 – NIV) God shows no partiality. Neither should we. Because to be honest, I’m not so sure where I would be sitting if it came down to picking and choosing in God’s kingdom.
Wisdom is Sincere
Being fake doesn’t make it in the kingdom of God. Scripture teaches that we are to be sincere (2 Corinthians 11:3), have sincere love (2 Corinthians 6:6), have sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5), and sincere hearts (Hebrews 10:22). We are to be genuine, without pretense or hypocrisy. God’s wisdom is always sincere. It can be no other way.
God’s wisdom is amazing. But it sure doesn’t come without some sacrifice on our part. Giving up some of the worldly ideas we have accepted as truth. Allowing God’s Spirit to guide us in our words and our actions. Godly wisdom totes quite a bundle with it.
But how blessed we will be when we come to realize that wisdom from God will keep us within His will. It will keep us from falling. It will be triumphant. The giving up that is required somehow doesn’t seem so bad. It is very much worth the sacrifice.
Matthew Henry has this to say about wisdom in relation to this verse. “May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.”[i]
This excellent gift. Wisdom. It’s no wonder Solomon knew exactly what to ask for from God. How foolish we would be not to ask for this excellent gift.
James says if you have wisdom, “Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13 - NIV) Wisdom is visible. Wisdom is evident. Our humble lives prove Godly wisdom dwells within us.
Have you received wisdom from God?
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,