Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

Living out Wisdom

James 3v13 “Who is wise and understanding among you?”

We might say someone is ‘street-wise’ or ‘money-wise’. When we do, we mean that the person knows how to operate successfully in that environment. Wisdom in the Bible is not an academic type of wisdom, but a very practical living-well-in-our-situation kind of wisdom.

God sees two types of wisdom operating amongst us: worldly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is explained in James 3v16 “Such wisdom … is earthly … where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Worldly wisdom is based on getting good results for me and my group. It is a wisdom based on comparison (that is ‘envy’). It is a wisdom which seeks to maintain my/our rights in each situation and advance my/our benefit (that is ‘selfish ambition’). It results in disorders such as falling out and war.

On the other hand, heavenly wisdom is explained in James 3v17, “The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Heavenly wisdom is based on seeking the good of the other person/group. It is a wisdom that seeks to exercise my responsibilities towards others – even those outside my circle. This is very different to the worldly wisdom. Each of the descriptions in James 3v17 is a challenge to us. Godly wisdom is straightforward (“pure”, “sincere”), it is returning evil with good rather than evil (“mercy”), it is seeks mutual interest (“impartial”), it listens and takes account of the others person’s needs (“considerate”, “submissive”), it seeks harmony rather than division (“peace-loving”, “good fruit”). These are of course most supremely demonstrated in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Proverbs of Solomon, we are advised, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.” (Proverbs 4v7). But how are we to get wisdom? Paul prays for wisdom in the church in Ephesus, “I keep asking that … the glorious Father may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.” (1v17)  This ties in exactly with James who has said “the wisdom that comes from above …”. You and I cannot manufacture wisdom by clever thinking or erudite reading. We can only receive true good, godly wisdom from above. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom. Let’s turn to God and ask for wisdom.

O Father God, give us this wisdom, we pray. We pray too for godly wisdom among the leaders of this world in all the situations we face today.


With love and blessing,