Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on James 3:14-18.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
James 3:14-18 describes two types of wisdom. First, there is the false “wisdom” from below, that is “earthly, sensual, and devilish” (v. 15). In contrast, there is the true wisdom that is from above (v. 17). It is marked by seven characteristics:
First, it is pure.
It is not sullied. It is not cynical. It is not suspicious. Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).
Second, it is peaceable.
Christ taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9). In Romans 12:18 Paul exhorted, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live at peace with all men.” Above all we must have peace with God (Rom 5:1).
Third, it is gentle.
The wise man is not like the proverbial bull in the china shop. He is not a steamroller. He is not a “it’s my way or the highway” type of man. The same term is used in Philippians 4:5 to promote “moderation”, and it is used in 1 Timothy 3:3 to describe a bishop as one who is “patient.”
Fourth, it is easy to be intreated.
The man who has this wisdom is eager for reconciliation and swift to pursue it. When reconciliation is achieved, he keeps no record of wrongs. The NKJV renders the term here as “willing to yield.” It refers to one who has a teachable spirit, rather than insisting on his own way.
Fifth, it is full of mercy and good fruits.
Christ taught, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt 5:7) and “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:36).
Good fruits are good works that overflow and abound from the life of the man that is truly converted (cf. Eph 2:10).
Sixth, it is without partiality.
The wisdom that is from above is not judgmental. Yes, there is a place for judgment and discernment (1 John 4:1). But the wisdom that is from above is not overbearing in judgment of others. It is impartial in the sense that is not quick to jump to conclusions without first weighing all the evidence. It is a spirit that hopes for the best in the other, rather than assuming the worst.
Seventh, it is without hypocrisy.
It does not teach one way, then act in another way. It does not have an integrity gap between words and actions (cf. Matt 7:1-5).
May the Lord give us the grace to live with the wisdom that is from above.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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