James 3:13-4:10 - Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Chances are you've met people who are really wise; sensible is another word we sometimes call it. It's that person who just knows things about the world, how people operate in it, and all the stuff you can't learn from a book. The wise person's experience factors in too, of course. Grinding through life's heartaches and pitfalls has a way of churning out wisdom on the other end.
The thing about wisdom though is we may resist it. But like eating our broccoli, we can look back and know it was good for us. Thoughts like "Make the most of your time now; you'll have less of it later" or "Great relationships are built on communication, so talk less and listen more"—these sound helpful, but their lasting benefits are often best understood in the future.
How much more so with God-given wisdom—"the wisdom from above." As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, making real the truth of Jesus' saving work on our behalf, we gain insight and clarity and a new way of looking at things, over time. God works His wisdom into our lives—to be open and hospitable, merciful and kind, unprejudiced and genuine. In essence, to be toward others how Jesus has been toward us.
We see how Jesus treated people differently. His life spoke love like no one before Him or since. His words welcomed those who were outside the religious establishment; His actions touched peoples' lives where they were—alienated from others, sick and dying, scorned by society and marginalized. His good conduct is the standard we are to follow.
Jesus is God's power and wisdom in action (see 1 Corinthians 1:24).
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may our lives be wise and understanding toward others, pointing them always to the Savior. In His Name we pray.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Who is the wisest person you've ever met? What makes them that way?
2. How does Jesus exemplify the wisdom and power of God?
3. How does God work in our lives to make us wiser people?
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