James again shows that the inner life of our heart and soul must shine through in our actions and words, as he turns to wisdom. He says, “Who is wise among you? Let them show it by their deeds done in humility,” (v.1). Wisdom is something many people hope for, and yet it seems a struggle for most people to achieve. King Solomon, when God offered to bless him, asked for wisdom. That was likely the wisest thing a person who is leading could ask God for.
Why would James need to remind us to live our wisdom out in humility? Maybe it is because often people put wisdom and knowledge together. Unfortunately, while knowledge should lead people to think deeper on life and cause pause, the opposite is more often the case. Paul warned the Corinthians, “…knowledge puffs up, but love build. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought,” (1 Co. 8:1-2). It becomes obvious that knowledge and wisdom without God’s guidance and love can become self-serving and destructive. James points out that people can work out of bitterness and selfishness, which always leads to pain and suffering.
Godly Wisdom is Filled with Love & Grace
Wisdom, true Godly wisdom, should be filled with love and the grace of God. If we are living our lives under the wisdom of God, we will seek peace and not allow bitterness and selfishness to rule our lives.
We should regularly ask ourselves why we do the things we do. When you are writing that email, letter, or text to a someone to share your thoughts or opinion, if we judged our words by James and Paul’s warning we would ask ourselves, “Does this build up, or tear down?” The Wisdom of God is given to help others to live better lives, but if our words are hurting or tearing others down then we are not speaking from wisdom filled with love and grace.
Godly Wisdom Knows When to Speak and When to be Silent
I am reminded of James’ words, in chapter 1:19 &20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
Wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to be silent.
We must learn to let God’s wisdom control our lives in love and grace. Knowing when to speak and when to be silent isn’t easy, because when we get wound up about issues, passionate about something, or offended we can easily loose perspective and then control. When don’t follow Paul’s warning to “not let the sun go down on anger” (Eph. 4:26), it leads to bitterness. Bitterness then lashes out at others in destructive words and action, suppressing wisdom.
Sometimes our best response to some things is simply to listen, and not respond. This Godly control is difficult, but can be done with God’s loving and wise power.
God forgive us when we have not listened to the wisdom of your Spirit’s guidance. Help us to seek to live in your wise and good ways. We ask in Jesus name. Amen.