James 3:13-18: “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. 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. 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.”
Over our study of these verses, we have seen the foundation for wisdom, earthly wisdom, and heavenly wisdom. I wanted to pause before we continue with James 4 and make sure we understand how to cultivate wisdom.
These practices are nothing new or even earth-shattering. Simple truths rarely are. However, they are life-transforming.
1. FEAR GOD. Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” We need to re-learn how to take God seriously. His Word is not to be taken lightly and His commands are not suggestions. When God says to love Him above all (with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength) and to love our neighbor as ourself, He was serious. We don’t decide who is worthy of love. All people made in the image of God are worthy of our love (Hint: that’s every single person, even if you vehemently disagree with them). Now, our actions of love differ from person to person, but we love nonetheless. To fear God also means we stop mixing man’s way with God’s way. We don’t make excuses for God’s way, we just follow. When we don’t understand something the Word says, we default to God. When our thoughts, opinions, and actions don’t line up with Scripture, we are wrong! This is hard for those who have embraced relativism to hear, but it is true. Because the world has turned its back on God and no longer fears God, the world has lost its wisdom.
2. ABIDE IN GOD. Abide means to rest or dwell. To abide in God means we rest or dwell in God’s presence. Specifically, we abide in God’s Word and God’s Son.
His Word-Proverbs 2:1-6, 9-11:
“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.”
His Son-Colossians 2:3: “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
3. ASK GOD! James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” But, we must ask with right motives.
Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
You are going to die someday. This is a reality. Some of us sooner than others. As a follower of Christ, we can rest in the assurance that Jesus is preparing for us a room in His father’s house. We can be assured of that because of the Gospel.
But believing in Christ, in accepting the free gift of salvation, is more than just a ticket to heaven. It is hope for the present. It is help on this highway of life, that we can live wise and holy lives. Ephesians 5:15-17: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
-The Lord’s will is for you to accept the grace He offers!
-The Lord’s will is for you to love Him above all else, to love others, and to make disciples.
-The Lord’s will is for you to build your life on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ.
Some questions to consider:
-Read John 15:1-17. How did Jesus abide in the Father? How do we abide in the Son?-How are you going to cultivate wisdom this week?