James 3:17-18: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
The wisdom from God is the answer to every conflict on earth. It provides purpose, direction, order, satisfaction, and assigns praise and glory where it is due: GOD! Notice where this wisdom comes from…
Notice the characteristics of this wisdom:
“Pure”-This simply means “having no faults.” It is not mingled or mixed with anything. It is undisturbed, original, holy. Some pastors use the Word of God to springboard them into what culture says or what they think. That’s not how it is supposed to be. The Word of God is pure; God’s wisdom is pure. We just seek to understand it and apply it. Heavenly wisdom is free of contamination. From purity flow all of the others. If the purity of God’s wisdom is questioned, it casts a shadow on everything that follows.
“Peace-loving”-This is not a “peace at any cost” or an impure peace. Man’s “wisdom” often leads to strife, envy, trouble, unhealthy competition, rivalry, war. But God’s wisdom is peace-loving. This is more than an absence of tension, but a presence of wholeness. It is the Hebrew word “Shalom.” This was a standard greeting, a blessing. It expressed a wish for prosperity, physical health, salvation, and harmonious relationships. The Apostle Paul would go on to say in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
“Considerate”- gentle. Is the wisdom you follow or the wisdom you expound gentle? Or is it harsh and overly critical?
“Submissive”-willing to yield, open to reason, accommodating, but never at the sake of purity. God’s wisdom is friendly and approachable. As we apply God’s wisdom to our lives, we need to be open to being taught the truth of God’s word; we need to be willing to receive instruction. Unless, of course, you have it all figured out… It is possible to hear all sides without compromising your convictions. This is why we must always be in a state of learning. Are you willing to admit when you were wrong when confronted with a biblical view that is different than your own?
“Full of mercy”-we have been shown great mercy by God.
Full of “good fruit”-this is pity in action. Taking the sorrow or sympathy you have for someone and doing something about it.
“Impartial”-we are all equal at the foot of the cross.
“Sincere”-without hypocrisy; ancient Greek actors were called hypocrites because they were pretending to be something they were not. God’s wisdom is sincere. As we apply God’s wisdom in our lives, we will be genuine as well. Have you ever met someone and thought, now there’s the real thing. There is a true Christian. They were sincere, weren’t they? They were humble, weren’t they? They were gentle and full of mercy. This world can see through your fake smile, your platitudes. Be REAL!
I encourage you to read through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and look for similarities between it and James’ writing. You will see how James was familiar with Jesus, his brother, and His teachings.
Full of mercy-5:7
James is merely echoing Christ’s words.
Righteousness (v. 18) is a “life or lifestyle in conformity to justice, law, or morality, as given by God.”
If we humbly go before God asking for wisdom, we will be given this peace.
You reap what you sow: sow corn, get corn; sow wheat, get wheat; sow bitterness, get bitterness; sow peace, get peace.
Some questions to consider:
-Are you pursuing heavenly wisdom?
-What characteristic of heavenly wisdom do you long for?
-Do you see the implications for applying heavenly wisdom in your marriage? In your church?
Psalm 133:1: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”