Where Does True Wisdom Come From?

James3It is Friday! Who else is excited for this weekend besides me? I am personally excited because this weekend we are holding a volunteer appreciation luncheon so that should be wonderful!! What are you wonderful people doing this weekend? Today we are back in James after taking a brief break yesterday. We are in James 3, Turn with me in your Bibles, if you do not have a bible you can find the pericope for today here.

James 3 deals with two main points: [1] Controlling the tongue and [2] Wisdom from above. I think that these are very interrelated so I am glad they are together. I’m going to skip over controlling the tongue and go straight to wisdom for now.

The very first verse in this section is James 3:13: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Do you consider yourself wise? How do you show it? How does the world show wisdom? Different cultures show it in different ways. Some equate wisdom to age and thus treat their elders with great respect. In America a lot of people equate wisdom with knowledge. They show their wisdom through bragging and outward shows of wisdom. Right from the start James is laying the foundation. Those who are wise ought to show it by their good life not their deeds.

He goes on to qualify what wisdom is and what it isn’t. He states that if there is envy or selfish ambition that it is not wisdom from above but it is earthly, sinful folly:

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:14-16

Often times we equate wisdom to what a person says not what a person does with their lives and there-in lies the fallacy in our worldview of wisdom. For the tongue is insidious and works to destroy any good. Earlier in this chapter James talks about the tongue he states that although the tongue is small it can do great damage. He compares it to the bit in the horses mouth through which you control the whole horse, he also compares it to a ships rudder with which they can steer a whole ship. The tongue has such great power over the body and yet we do not attempt to tame our tongues.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

Cursing is one of the hardest things to kick, whether it is stubbing your toe on the table, or a kid pulling out your hair the temptation is around. And James appeals to that even saying all these things that stop one from taming the tongue. He goes as far to say “but no man can tame the tongue.” If you have a problem with the words that you say sometimes its okay we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I know that I myself sometimes will say something and then immediately have to pray “God, I did not mean it please forgive me.” James tells us that the way that we speak wrongly is not normal and it is not supposed to be that way. Pray now if you need help with “taming your tongue” James spoke before on being slow to speak and quick to listen. The tongue can do great damage and can undo many months of work through good deeds and action. We must be careful how we let our tongues to rule over us. I once heard a good quote on this matter and for the life of me I cannot remember who said it but it went like this. “God has given us two fences to leap over before we speak that way before we open our teeth and our lips we might think of the damage our tongues may unleash.”

Do we have selfish ambition? When you live your life what is the motivation? Are you living a good life because you love the God you serve or because you want to earn something to give back? We must accept the GIFT of grace and live humbly (James definition of wisdom) before our God (the giver of wisdom) not because we think we can work our way into his good graces but because we truly love and desire to follow him.

I was perusing blogs today and I found this post which I think corresponds well with this idea of not trying to earn anything to give back take a look if you are interested. Gifts and Trophies (jonlilley.com)

Are you trying to earn your way into God’s favor? Stop trying you are already in his good graces. Take a moment to reflect on God’s unconditional love for you and know that there is no way that you can earn your way out or into that love- you can only exist in it.

May God Bless You This Week,

A

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