Defining Wisdom: (Part 2) True Wisdom

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERASo, we are continuing our study of what wisdom is NOT, and what wisdom IS according to James 3. Remember in the first part of this study, “Defining Wisdom: (Part 1) False Wisdom”, we learned that false wisdom is characteristic of unbelievers, who exhibit sinful behavior that is the result of an earthly, finite, and sin-tainted perspective, as well “natural” that is controlled by the flesh, and a will that is controlled by Satanic forces. However, what is the opposite to this anti-Christ wisdom? What wisdom should true believers be exhibiting as they seek to follow Christ and obey Scripture? What is the definition of true 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.”

This passage is so rich with truth about godly wisdom, but unfortunately, I don’t have time or space to go into detail for every single characteristic listed for the wisdom that is from above, despite the fact that they are all deep and meaningful for the believer. But that doesn’t mean that there were not specific ones that did not impact me; namely, “pure”, “peaceable”, and “reasonable” were the aspects of true wisdom that had the greatest impact on me during the time that I was studying this passage. I hope that, if you have truly entrusted Christ as your Savior, these three characteristics, if none of the rest, will encourage and challenge you to grow in true wisdom.

So, true wisdom which comes down from above is first pure. Matthew Henry defines this purity as “…free from iniquity and defilements, not allowing any known sin, but studious of holiness both in heart and life.”  But if we are sinful human beings, and the only reason that we stand righteous before the throne of God is because of Jesus’ grace and sacrifice, how can we ever exhibit wisdom that is “free from iniquity”? The fact of the matter, is that Jesus Christ has called each and every one of His redeemed people to be pure and holy; these things are to be our greatest goals because they will bring our Savior the greatest glory. Thus, in order to be pure, we must throw off the sin of our flesh and put on the new man through the renewal of our minds in the Spirit. And not only this, we are to be “studious of holiness”, always seeking to increase in sanctification and obedience to God’s Word. That is true pure wisdom, to throw off sin by resisting the flesh, and to live according to the Spirit in obedience to Scripture. 1 John 3:3, “…We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Then, the wisdom from above is peaceable. And this does not mean that godly wisdom produces feeling of “inner peace” or ultimate harmony with oneself, but rather peace with all men and harmony in one’s relationship with God. The latter is to be our foremost concern, continually confessing sin and beseeching the Lord for forgiveness so that we are perpetually at peace with and obedient to Him. However, this particular use of the word “peaceable” refers more our relationship with believers and unbelievers alike. In all things, the love of Christ is to be the primary characteristic of a believers’ interactions with others, in that they continually consider others as more important than themselves. The possessor of true wisdom serves, encourages, reproves, repents, and forgives all men so that godly peace and harmony is preserved in every circumstance. Romans 12:18, “So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

Finally, true, godly wisdom is reasonable. Interestingly, this is the only time this word occurs in the Bible, but it has such a full, rich meaning! Normally, most people might consider “reasonable” to be rational, logical, or legitimate. However, this reasonable is quite different, and it refers to a response to teaching, admonition, and the presentation of truth in general. The one who is godly and reasonable will have such a great desire to live and obey the truth of God’s Word that he will willing and joyfully submit his will desires and inclinations to the teaching of Scripture, whatever it contains. It is, in effect, to cultivate a very pliable will that is easily persuaded to act out in obedience to God that is ready to live out the principles of Scripture, and that is willing to yield to any admonition that is brought from God’s Word. The greatest desire of the reasonable, and truly wise, is to live a life in conformity to the truth of God to that they will ultimately be conformed to the image of Christ.

True wisdom is, to say the least, difficult to cultivate and maintain, because it defies everything that naturally resonates with the believer’s sinful flesh. But this godly wisdom from above yields rewards beyond measure in the form of obedience and glory to God. Even as I was studying this passage and learning that true wisdom is pure, peaceable, and reasonable, there were several areas in my life that the Lord graciously allowed me to change so that I would live in accordance to this wisdom. The going may be burdensome, strenuous, and even painful, to produce godly wisdom, but I am learning slowly that, with God’s abundant grace and strength, there is holiness, joy, and eternal treasures to be found in this heavenly wisdom.

So, are you faithfully pursuing purity in word and deed, the absence of sin, with Jesus Christ as your example and standard for holiness? Are you diligently seeking to be at peace with God and with all men, repenting of and turning from sin, forgiving and asking forgiveness, loving and serving in all that you do? Are you reasonable is accepting the teaching God’s Word, and is it your greatest desire to be obedient so that will willingly submit to the reproof of God’s Word in your life?

Will you diligently cultivate true wisdom as that which is to characterize every believer in Jesus Christ?

One Response to “Defining Wisdom: (Part 2) True Wisdom”
  1. mixxlife says:

    This is beautiful! What a wonderful study. Keep writing!

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