Give Me Wisdom

written by Haley King, Children & Family Ministries Coordinator (March 5, 2023)

As conversations in the world began to look more and more controversial by the day, it is important that we stop and ponder how godly conversation and behavior fit in. Being a leader in children’s ministry I come across a lot of conversations regarding wisdom in how to handle such controversial topics of conversations and secular theology. Parents can get emotional and overwhelmed about the discipleship of their children. While I am not a parent yet, I totally understand the concern. I am already contemplating the decisions that I will have to make or the conversations I might have on behalf of my children’s hearts and minds being protected. I don’t want to be a parent or Christian lacking wisdom, self control, or discernment. When emotions are high in conversations or controversy my prayer is to stand for Truth but also to represent Christ well. I believe James 3:13-18 gives us much wisdom and truth about this topic of conversation. 

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18 ESV

James gives the example of what true ‘wisdom from above’ looks like. The difference between men pretending to be wise and those who truly are. We see the result of their life depended upon the source of their wisdom. If you notice in verse 13 it states, ‘good conduct.’ Yes, we should take the words we say seriously, but the words that we say aren’t the main focus in this verse but rather James is speaking about our entire behavior. True wisdom doesn’t show itself by someone simply having the knowledge of doing the correct thing, but that knowledge will go further and result in works. We have the right answer and knowledge through the understanding of God’s Word for tough conversations, but it’s not just about being able to say the biblical thing but to act biblical as well. True wisdom looks like control.  A true example of wisdom is one who can control his anger, reaction to others, and in return respond in a spirit of meekness. A true spirit of meekness is the best way to verify biblical wisdom in your life. Why? -- because nothing hinders our character more than losing ourselves in the heat of the moment. Having control of ourselves and and being able to hear reason and handle the situation calmly is wisdom. Wisdom produces meekness, and meekness increases wisdom.

James goes on to state that in order to have this wisdom from above, there are certain ways of behavior that must be taken out before wisdom from above is gained. The wisdom that is gained from earthly, unspiritual, and demonic sources begin in the heart and result with jealousy and selfish ambition. Notice that the place of character is the same, the heart; but the difference of character results from whether or not wisdom is either sought from above or below. James states that where bitterness, jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and is vile practice (shameful & evil).  But notice the contrast between character when one gets his wisdom from above and not from the earth. The wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (not hypocritical). (vs. 17) 

The wisdom from above is not mixed with sin or any blemish but is linked to holiness. Not our own holiness but Christ’s! This kind of wisdom is also quick to fix that which is broken in the family, the workplace, the church and any society. Wisdom from above looks like a calm spirit, not always having to be right, harsh, cruel, or overbearing in conversation with others. There is an aspect of reason, when trying to prove right from wrong. One can demonstrate this by not shifting or budging on what is right, but is still able to reason with someone and to 'see where they are coming from'. This wisdom provides compassion and understanding without affirming or agreeing. 

When it seems like the whole world is against everything true and beautiful that God has created we must battle with wisdom from above. This may look different in each individuals life. While the conversations or conflicts might be different in your life than they are in mine, we are all called to the same behavior that can only come from biblical wisdom. Pray and work to have wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, and sincere in your conversations. God promises that He will give it us, but we must ask. (James 1:5)