Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Show me the wisdom - James 3:13-18

"Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18)
Someone once defined wisdom by comparing it with prudence. Prudence is the ability to avoid sin while wisdom, containing prudence, is also the ability to do righteousness. James challenges those who claim to have wisdom to show forth their wisdom by their behavior. Like faith, wisdom without deeds is empty, worthless, and dead. If we truly possess wisdom then it should color all we do; it should leak through our lives and express itself in godly behavior. However, if the wisdom we claim does not yield in us the fruits of righteousness, then maybe we should reexamine what we claim to possess.

Jesus rebuked His generation saying,
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." (Matthew 11:16-19)
"Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." To test the wisdom of those who claim it, we need only to look to their deeds. The Jews in Jesus' day claimed to have the wisdom and understanding of the law, and yet they sought to kill Jesus who told them the truth. They became murders while He became "a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 NKJV) They brought death to the Righteous One while He brought many righteous to life. Their deeds were not the deeds of wisdom while His always testified to the wisdom of God.

There is a deception that comes upon us when we delude ourselves into believing that we have something we really do not possess. To think ourselves as wise and understanding when, as evidenced by our deeds, we lack the very thing we confess; when we become like the Laodiceans who said of themselves "'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." (Revelation 3:17) James counsels us to repent and renounce the lie of deception; to be honest about what we have and do not have. Furthermore, we must take stock after what is really motivating our life. Is our life being animated by a wisdom from above or are we living after a wisdom that is worldly, natural, and demonic? We must look at our lives. If they are not producing the fruits of righteousness then we need a "wisdom transplant." We need to replace what we claim to be wisdom with true wisdom from above; a wisdom from Christ "who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30) He who has Christ has true wisdom and he who has true wisdom will bare the fruit of that wisdom in his life.

David Robison

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