Made in His image.

Made in His image.
Photos courtesy Jan Ethridge Photography

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What kind of Wisdom do you have?

For several weeks, I have been knee-deep in the book of James. For such a short book of the Bible it has some pretty heavy truths! Todays verses were from chapter 3, verses 13-18:

            "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from Heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness!"

Whew! That was a lot to chew on the first time I read it through. It is basically dividing wisdom into two types: wisdom that comes directly from heaven (and by extension prayer, studying God's word, the counsel of others grounded in scripture) and the kind of wisdom that is self-serving or as James puts it....of the devil. (Wow! He doesn't hold back does he?)

Did anyone catch towards the beginning what should flow freely from true wisdom? Humility. Is that the first word that would come to mind when we think of what the world tells us wisdom looks like?

Looking up the word 'humble' in the dictionary, it says, "Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful." Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking someone is wise just because they talk a lot........anyone else? Or I'll look at someone in our culture or on television and assume they're wise because of how they're dressed, what their title is, or even how old they are (just being honest:).

It's not a crime to be smart or to be an expert in a field, God has certainly blessed many with keen sensitivity and gifts in very specific areas, and some of us have trained in an area for years and gained a lifetime of experience that might well make us an expert. But y'all....if we as the Body of Christ are to count ourselves wise in the wisdom that is from heaven, look at the fruits that must naturally accompany such wisdom.  I'm thinking about the wisdom in our relationships and our friendships, the wisdom in our counsel to the cost of our being 'right' sometimes the sacrifice of another's feelings? As Christians, do we sometimes disguise our selfish ambitions as a gift of discernment? (Yikes! So guilty there.)

James says (inspired by the Holy Spirit) that enough is enough! If you have selfish ambition in your heart zip your lips and quit boasting!

When I think of a handful of people in my life that I would call filled with true wisdom, it is no coincidence that these people's reputation for gentleness and meekness precedes them. They are the kind of people that I believe follow what James says earlier about being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. I have no doubt that people who are truly wise and filled with understanding have very deep prayer lives, crave time with the Lord in His book and daily die to themselves so that the Lord might be glorified through them. They are by no means perfect, but they do understand that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

This reflection and study today was convicting to me as I can recall moments where my tongue has been too quick and unharnessed....and as a result has brought about the pain of regret afterwards.  I want to desperately to be wise for my children so that I can be an  instrument of God's instruction to them as they get older and I of course want wisdom to discern the lessons God puts before me daily. I pray that for every splinter of selfish ambition the Lord removes from my heart He will replace it with wisdom from His throne that seeks His kingdom first and that offers up a fountain of purity and meekness. It's an ongoing prayer:)

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