Read James 3:13-18.Wow, this whole passage is so full of truth and guidance for the Christian life. We are first told that to live a good life is "by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." Again, putting our faith into action, but including doing those deeds with a humble heart. I'll get back to that wisdom in a minute.
"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." NIV
Then we are admonished against bitter envy and selfish ambition. These attitudes of the heart are "earthly, unspiritual, of the devil." No mincing words there. I think it's very clear how God feels about envy and selfish ambition. So that drives me to examine my life.....am I harboring these attitudes in myself? Do I do the things I do for God's glory or for my own? Do I want someone else's life? Do I wish for more money or power...anything that I don't have? I must look at my own life very carefully and be sure my conscience is clear on this point, and if not, I need to confess, repent, and renounce these sins from my life.
Now look at the list that makes up the wisdom that comes from heaven. What are the characteristics of wisdom that we are to use?
pure: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean
peace-loving: ("peaceable" in KJV) relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, loving peace, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary
considerate: ("'gentle" in KJV) seemingly, suitable, equitable, fair, mild, gentle
submissive: ("easy to be intreated" in KJV) easily obeying, compliant
full of mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them
full of good fruit: good work, act, deed
impartial: without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty
sincere: ("without hypocrisy" in KJV) unfeigned, undisguised, sincere
This is an amazing list and all of it can be given to us by the Father when we ask for His wisdom. It's only in this wisdom that we can even accomplish good deeds for His glory. I so desire to live each of these each and every day.
Lord, give me Your wisdom, not for selfish ambition or out of envy, but so I may live a "good" life for Your honor and glory. Let me please You, O Lord.
- Carefully read through each of those characteristics of wisdom. Meditate on them and ask the Lord to fill you with each. Write His words on your heart.
- Who in the Old Testament displayed wisdom like this? Go back and study their life and learn from their example.
- Do you harbor any bitter envy or selfish ambition? Ask the Lord to reveal to you if you do. If needed, confess, repent, and renounce this sin in your life. It is not of God.