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. James 3:13–18, ESV.
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” If there ever was a question for our day, that might be it! A tiny virus in China jumped from an animal to a human being and the entire world has been forced to reconsider how to do life. If ever there was a need for wisdom and understanding it is now!
But James doesn’t just ask us if we know any wise and understanding people. James gets brutally honest and tells us what wise and understanding people look like. They look like meek people. The wise and understanding one will not be jealous, selfish, boastful, or dishonest. These behaviors only produce chaos and evil. They are not evidence of wisdom, but evidence of demonic worldliness. God-given wisdom “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (3:17). And these wise behaviors produce righteousness and peace.
Wisdom is humble and results in righteousness and peace. It is tempting to read this passage and think of our speech-making leaders in Washington DC or in Harrisburg. Who doesn’t long to see peace and righteousness flow from humbly wise and understanding government leaders?
All the same, I believe the Lord would have us read James with a much more immediate application in mind. Wouldn't your family benefit this week if you were humbly wise and understanding? Could your family not use a little peace and righteousness? how about your workplace? how about your friends on social media?
Let’s join together today and pray James 1:5 with a James 3:17 understanding of what we are asking for! God said He will grant us wisdom if we ask. Can you imagine? All of our homes filled with humble wisdom producing righteousness and peace! Staying home may help us overcome a virus. Humble wisdom and understanding may turn our homes into places we want to stay!
May God bless you with righteousness and peace as you seek His wisdom and understanding today. I am praying for you.