Posts Tagged James 3: 17

Characteristic Wisdom

James 3: 17          (CJB)

But the wisdom from above is, first of all, pure, then peaceful, kind, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Today’s verse is taken from the Complete Jewish Bible. This is another translation you may want to look at from time to time. I like what it reveals to us about our heavenly Father in this verse.

Of course the wisdom which comes from above is coming from Yahweh. The verse goes on to list the characteristics of this wisdom which comes down from above. It takes no great intellectual leap to understand that the traits listed here are the traits of the Father. I want you to see that the Father is first of all pure, then peaceful, kind, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and not hypocritical. Each of those traits is a meditation unto itself and we could end the Word of the Day right here with you meditating on those traits one by one.

There is one other thing that motivated the use of this verse though. I wish for you to see how the whole Bible fits together. You have seen other verses which reveal God’s character traits. You have even seen other verses about His wisdom. Now you see them coming together and that is what I love about the Word. It continues to reveal the Father but in connected ways. His wisdom reflects His character. That will help you when you pray for wisdom. If the answer you receive does not reflect the character of the Father, then it is not from Him. The same is true of advice. If it is not peaceable, impartial, etc. it is not from God.

These verses come together to paint a picture of God and they show you how He moves in the world. Throughout the Bible you will see His kindness revealed in everything He does. By piecing all these verses together we are gaining a better picture of who God is. He freely gives His wisdom to us and it is always from a place of love.

Wise Counsel

James 3: 17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Learning to hear and recognize the voice of God is a skill and like all skills, it can be learned. One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “How do I know that I hear is God speaking?” That is a good question. Brother James gives us a good response today. If what you hear in your head (or heart) contradicts any of the godly characteristics he lists above, then it is not God. When you ask God for advice and/or wisdom, He will always answer with pure, peaceable, reasonable, merciful, unwavering, non-hypocritical answers which are full of good fruit. One caveat, however. What God tells us does not always sound reasonable to our human minds but when you look at it through the eyes of the Spirit, you will see the reasons for it.

You can extrapolate a bit further with this advice from James. What if you have asked another person for advice or wisdom? Run whatever they say through this machine. If it does not pass the test of James 3: 17, then it is not “wisdom from above.”

Okay, now take it even one step further. What if a person runs a business in which its guiding principles are not as enumerated above? It does not mean the owner is not a Christian but it does mean that God’s wisdom is not being employed in that business. We are all on a learning curve so don’t judge the owner. They, perhaps, have just not learned how to run a business in partnership with God yet. However, you should ask yourself if it is a business you are comfortable aligning yourself with. And, if you really want to hear something radical, watch all of the businesses you deal with. You may actually find a non-Christian who employs more of God’s wisdom than the Christian.

James told us that we are to ask God for wisdom and that the Lord gives it freely (1: 5). Now you know how to check it to determine if it really is wisdom from above.