Is Your Wisdom Earthly or Heavenly?

Scripture: James 3:17, ‘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.’


Observations: The word ‘but’ is used to contrast two things. In this case James is contrasting ‘wisdom that comes from heaven’ with ‘wisdom that does not come from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. (v15)’ There are two kinds of wisdom – earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. Earthly wisdom is based on ‘bitter envy and selfish ambition. (v14)’ It is using your knowledge to achieve worldly status and power, and it results in ‘disorder and every evil practice. (v16)’ Heavenly wisdom on the other hand results in living ‘a good life, by deeds done in humility. (v13)’ It is ‘pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’ Heavenly wisdom is using our knowledge to be more like Jesus. It means being pure, or holy like Jesus was holy. It means working to create peace between people, like Jesus created peace between us and God by dying on the cross (Rom 5:1). It means being considerate of the needs and feelings of others. It means submitting ourselves to those in authority, like Jesus submitted himself to the will of his Father (Mt 26:39). It means being merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). It means bearing good fruit, which is another way of saying doing good deeds for others. It means being impartial, not showing favouritism but treating everyone as valuable, created in the image of God (2:1; 3:9). It means being sincere, or honest, not being a hypocrite. Basically we are wise when we behave like Jesus, and give our lives in service to him and others, rather than ourselves. I life lived for self is foolish.


Application: How are you living your life? Are you living it for yourself, using all your energy, all your money, all your talents and abilities to achieve your selfish ambitions? Or do you do everything for the sake of Your Saviour Jesus Christ, in order to build his kingdom, and reach out to others for the glory of God? Both people use wisdom to achieve their goals, but in the end God will judge one a fool and the other truly wise. Are you wise, or are you a fool?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, only in relationship with You and living according to Your will am I declared to be wise. Lord, save me from the foolish notion that this life is all about me and my desires and happiness. Lord, give me the wisdom that puts others before myself. Give me the wisdom that makes me more like Jesus. Help me to be pure and peace-loving, considerate and submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. May my choices in life be made in order serve You and bring You glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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