“Our world has more and more information, but less and less wisdom. More data; less clarity. More stimulation; less synthesis. More distraction; less stillness. More pontificating; less pondering. More opinion; less research. More speaking; less listening. More to look at; less to see. More amusements; less joy. There is more, but we are less. And we all feel it.” -Brett McCracken, The Wisdom Pyramid
“Wisdom is the principal (most important) thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7More than ever, we need wisdom. However, it seems that “Truth is fallen in the streets” (Is. 59:14) and is being trampled upon and devalued. Just as small children are captivated by a shiny penny while the hundred-dollar bill is cast aside, our infatuation with quick facts, what’s trending, and addiction to the constant barrage of “breaking news” have eroded our ability to distinguish the trivial from the truly important. It is difficult for many to fully understand why the Bible describes wisdom as being more valuable that costly jewels, choice silver and fine gold (Proverbs 8). We cannot fathom that being a wise person is much more valuable than winning the lottery, but it is true.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” Proverbs 3:13–14It is urgent that we begin to renew our mind to be able to truly perceive the necessity of acquiring wisdom and understanding. What is wisdom? How do we get it? What does it look like in daily life? “Chokmah” (Godly wisdom) can be defined in this way according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary:
“The knowledge and ability to make the right decision at the appropriate time.”Godly wisdom is more than financial savvy, knowledge on church growth, diagnosing root problems or organizing a home. It is intentionally developing biblical wisdom in our heart so that we can live a life that is not focused on the trivial but on what is vital and eternal. The Apostle James sheds light on how to detect true wisdom in others and how to become a truly wise person, but it may not be what you first think.
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13).How would you answer the Apostle James’ question? Do you consider yourself to be a wise person? Resist the temptation to answer the question based on your intellectual capacity, your success in business or your ability to share biblical insight. Here are four things in this passage that describe godly wisdom. 1. Biblical Wisdom Is Humble.
“…let him shew out of a good conversation (daily life) his works with meekness (humility) of wisdom.” (James 3:13)
This describes someone who is knowledgeable and skilled in resolving the practical problems of life and who helps others do the same. Yet, knowing and teaching are only a part of what it takes to be a truly wise person. Wisdom is not what you know, but what you do and who you are. Someone who can teach or preach with great insight but does not personally demonstrate a humble and teachable lifestyle is being driven by selfish wisdom.
Selfish wisdom will be revealed when our daily lives are inconsistent with what we say.2. Biblical Wisdom Is Courteous.
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:14–16)It will be evident in the life of a believer that his words do not match his walk when there is evidence of selfish envy and constant conflict and a lack of common courtesy. Sharing spiritual insights with others to appear smarter, wiser, or a better leader than someone else is not evidence of godly wisdom. It is selfish. In fact, James goes as far as to say that this person is being led by his fleshly desires and is acting like the devil. Everyone can have a bad day occasionally, but a way of life that does not consider the desires and feelings of others is a red flag. Beware of becoming this type of believer and be careful of following this type of leader. It is always godly to be courteous and considerate of others.
If godly wisdom is our guide, then the fruit will be a kind spirit, a controlled tongue, and a sensitivity to the needs and heart conditions of those who are under our influence.If there is a selfish and controlling heart, inevitably there will be other sinful actions that will arise from that heart and will be apparent in all personal relationships. A selfish person will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. A person who is truly wise is merciful and considerate. 3. Biblical Wisdom Is Pure.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure…” (James 3:17)“First pure” means that purity is the most important thing needed to become wise. It is in stark contrast to the heart that is sensual and devilish and filled with every evil work. Wisdom that is pure shrinks back from every type of sin and darkness. To the believer that is growing in wisdom, sin is becoming more and more putrid and disgusting. If you don’t hate sin and don’t want to live a pure life, then it is impossible to demonstrate godly wisdom.
The truly wise person will shrink away from any impurity.The very first question to ask in every decision is, “Is this clean and upright?” not “Will this benefit me?” The believer who is biblically wise will not cheat on his taxes, misuse church funds, harbor secret sins and addictions, lie, or allow unresolved conflicts to fester and grow.
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)4. Biblical Wisdom is Peaceable.
“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. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:17–18)Peaceable means “lover of peace.” However, this is not describing someone who loves to keep the peace and minimizes truth for the sake of temporary harmony. Jesus Christ himself said that his Truth would not bring peace, but a sword, that is, the gospel would bring upheaval and trouble between children and parents, between relatives and the extended family (Matthew 10:34). A true disciple of Christ can shake things up. It may cause trouble instead of peace at first. D. Edward Hiebert said:
“This peaceful word refers to a person who may be against sin, but in doing so, he hungers for peace, yearning to heal all divisions with wise counsel.”The truth is that we are not smart enough or spiritual enough to become a truly wise person on our own. If you study the broad topic of wisdom in Scripture, you will find that godly wisdom is centered on a Person, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our wisdom. True wisdom comes from being in a right relationship with Jesus.
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30–31)When we are born again, we find ourselves living in another sphere. We are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only person who ever demonstrated “chokmah” perfectly. He always made the right decision at the appropriate time. He was always humble, considerate, pure, and peaceable. Is anyone wise? Yes! Jesus Christ. If you desire to be truly wise, get up close and personal with Jesus. This is not an excuse to not study, prepare or to be informed. We should be diligent in all these areas. But if you want to make a difference for eternity, only Christ can be your wisdom.
“…Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Live a transparent life. Allow others the freedom, when appropriate, to question your motives. Examine your heart to discern if you are serving selfish desires or if you are truly serving the Lord. The Holy Spirit will then be able to transform you into a follower of Christ who will naturally “shew out of a good conversation (daily life) his works with meekness (humility) of wisdom.” (James 3:13)