Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is the Source of Our "Wisdom?"

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.

Wouldn't it be nice if we were only able to hear advice from God? If we were able to filter out all of the bad advice and only hear advice and wisdom that would be helpful to our lives? In our world of instant knowledge, opinion & "wisdom" via the internet, media, etc., it can be difficult to sift through the trash to find the treasure. It seems impossible to figure out who to listen to, what advice is good, helpful. But here's the thing: God gives us the tools to determine the truth from the lies, the good from the bad, His wisdom as opposed to the wisdom of this world. He tells us what to look for so that we can find the truth.

What does the wisdom of the world look like? Here's the verse in context:

James 3:13 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom.14 But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don't sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom.15 Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic.16 Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil.

Wisdom from that source clearly stinks. Bottom line.

Then the contrast in verse 17 & 18: 17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.18 And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

In verse 17 He gives us the characteristics we need to see to know the "wisdom" that we behold is from God. Does the advice or "wisdom" we hear contain those characteristics? If so, it's Godly wisdom.

Are we receiving advice that doesn't have those characteristics? If it doesn't have those characteristics, it's not from God. Does it have the characteristics in verse 14 & 15? Then it's not from God. End of story.

This is also helpful (to me) when I consider the "wisdom" that I impart to others. It's not always from God (just ask my kids - haha). I blow it. I say stupid things, so I consider these verses to be a necessary filter - filtering what we say AND what we hear.

We are not completely stumbling in the dark without a guide. God gives us the tools we need to survive and thrive in this world. Check this out:

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

Bottom line is that God's got us covered. He gives us the answers we need. He loves us. He wants us to know what to think, where to go, how to really live. He doesn't keep these things hidden from us. He gives us all that we need and more - we just need to crack open that Bible and read what He has to tell us.

As an addendum to this devotion - Do you every wonder if God loves you enough to take the time to teach you all that you need to know? Maybe that's why we, at times, listen to the world's wisdom - maybe it's because it's easily accessible and maybe we forget that God really does love us SO much that He gave us a manual for our lives - His Word!

Do you need to be reminded of His love, sometimes? I do! So, here you go:


He has wonderful plans for you:
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He loves you so much that He has your name written on the palms of His hands:
Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

He is with you. He will save you. He delights in you. He LOVES you:
Zephaniah 3:17The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

His love for you is EVERLASTING:
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

His love for you is so great. His compassion for you never fails. It is renewed every single day:
Lamentations 3:22 – 25 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.

He knows everything about you. You are of such great value to God. He even knows ever hair on your head:
Luke 12: 6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

He loves you so much that He wants you to be with Him forever. For this to happen, He sent His son to Earth to pay for your sins:
1 John 4:9-10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

It's good to be truly loved. :D