I used to think I was pretty wise. I have made pretty wise choices in life in terms of what I have gotten involved with. I have made even wiser choices perhaps in terms of what I have not gotten involved with. Yet when it comes to the way I look at life right now, today, I am not so sure. Wisdom is typically defined by the ability to attain, retain, and utilize knowledge. A little more clearly stated, wisdom is the ability to choose wisely. So as I consider this term for my life right now ... I wonder how wise I am.
Wisdom in Scripture is defined a few different ways. The author of Proverbs has ideas about wisdom. The Psalmist had ideas about what wisdom really was. In the New Testament, James talks about two kinds of wisdom: worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. Listen to how James defines Godly wisdom, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere." This is why I am unsure whether I am truly wise anymore. If wisdom is first of all pure then hold the presses because I am not wise. If wisdom is peace loving and gentle at all times, I fall completely short of the mark. If wisdom is willing to yield to others, full of mercy and good deeds then I lack the ingredients of a wise person. If wisdom means sincerely holding all people as completely equal then I am out. This wisdom that James writes of is incredibly difficult and ultimately telling when it comes to our attempts to be wise.
As difficult as it is to be wise in all situations, I am equally encouraged by the challenge James' words are to me. I am faced with choices each and every day- choices that can lead to me exhibiting Godly wisdom and choices that can lead to me exhibiting worldly wisdom. Choices that lead to me exhibiting worldly wisdom are arrogant, selfish, and ungodly choices. They are choices that promote my own agenda and selfish desires. However, there are choices that lead to me exhibiting Godly wisdom as well. These choices lead to me being more pure, peace-loving, gentle, yielding, merciful, helpful, and sincere. The exciting thing about James' words on Godly wisdom is how clear they make my choices. The characteristics of Godly choices are evident and I know what my choice has been by my actions, so I can move through my daily life with certainty of whether I have chosen wisely. As I weigh the evidence of my actions against the characteristics of Godly wisdom I can determine quickly if my choices exhibit wisdom from above. This is extremely helpful to me and can be to you too.
So as we go through our everyday moments in life ... we have the choice to choose wisdom from above or wisdom from the world. I challenge you to join me in following the words of James and choosing wisdom from above.
This Sunday we will continue our series Almost Christian. We will discuss how serious and sincere we are about following God. We will also discuss what motivates us in following God. I can't wait to share this with you. I hope you will be in worship with me. See you in church.