Friday, October 31, 2008

Defining Wisdom

Asking for wisdom is daily my heart's prayer. There are numerous promises in the Bible that we often neglect and only need to claim; I am often taking James 1:5 to God's throne:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upraideth not; and it shall be given him."

God tells us that if we realize we need wisdom to ask him and we will get it.

This is such a simple promise, but have you ever wondered how you would recognize this wisdom? We have the world and all it's philosophies, friends, family, and perhaps common sense rolling around in our head, and we wonder which voice is God's voice. How do we discern? Well, if we continue reading in James we will discover that God describes for us both what God's wisdom IS and what it IS NOT.

James 3 tells us that the wisdom God gives us is manifested through our TONGUES. What we say determines if we have wisdom from God, or wisdom from this world.

Many of you are familiar with the first part of the chapter in which James discusses how much power our tongues have for evil. Then he disusses how hard it is to tame our tongues. He says that sometimes we say evil things and sometimes we speak good things but "these things ought not so to be."

I have never understood the connection between our speech and wisdom until reading this chapter. I would never normally tie the two together, but this bridge is fascinating. If we are thanking God and blessing Him, but then are speaking ill of what is happening in our lives and even cursing, it is evidence of the world's wisdom. These kinds of words are evident of a heart full of envy and strife. A wise man cannot possibly utter both blessings and cursings. If a man is wise it is impossible!! If our lives are full of envying strife and confusion, it is a direct evidence that we are adhering to the wisdom of the world (vs 14-16).

Are you wise? Well then, "show out of a good conversation your works with meekness of wisdom (vs13)." Our conversation is our lifestyle, our behavior. Wisdom is not only thoughts, direction, purpose or beliefs, but more importantly our actions. Wisdom will direct us to live an excellent life with a gentle spirit that can only come from having wisdom.

How exactly is God's wisdom manifested? Well, James describes it for us in verse 17. Wisdom from above is:

(first) pure - This is very interesting: above all else, our wisdom should be pure. This could be described as holy perhaps, but a better description is innocent. Our wisdom should be so pure that it is not even aware of sin.

peaceable - creating quietness and rest (do my words do this?)

gentle- appropriate or patient (do I know what to say and when or what not to say and when?do I dismiss what others are saying?)

easy to be entreated - easily compliant (am I a good listener? do I give in when it is not a matter of principle? do people like to talk to me? do i readily submit to authority?)

full of mercy - compassion (do I want to help those in need?)

full of good fruits - works (do my actions produce honorable, excellent, useful, or pleasant results?)

without partiality - not partial (do I treat others fairly?)

without hypocrisy -sincere (am I a fake/phony? am I putting on a show?)

It is easy to ask for wisdom. It is easy for God to give me wisdom. From this list I can now identify God's wisdom quite easily. Am I manifesting the wisdom of the world or the wisdom from above? "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..." Lk 12:48


  1. Thanks, I also never saw the connection between wisdom and my words, especially to the extent that you have described. Being a baby Christian, there are so many things I am learning and I thank you for helping me in my own journey to become the person that the Lord would intend for me to be.