But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3.17).
When we drink water we want it to be pure and free of contamination. It is the same with our walk with God. You are judged by God in accordance with what is in your heart. If your heart produces the bitter, rotten fruit of pride, worldliness, or sensuality, this is not from God. James indicates if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, you are demonstrating an earthly, sensual and demonic life (James 3.14-15).
Envy and self-seeking gives way to confusion and every evil thing. Envy is a strong emotion of resentment and jealousy against someone. Self-seeking implies wanting to be better than someone else. It is alive and well when we want to make people think we are better. A self-seeking person is in it just for themselves.
But there is a wisdom that is from above. It is a wisdom that brings illumination and godly energy into our inner man in order to govern our lives in an eternally useful manner. If you live under the influence of this wisdom, you are not wise in your own eyes. But God considers you to be wise or skillful at applying Scriptural principles.
Think of wisdom as God’s light penetrating and purifying your soul. We struggle with darkness and sin. Our goal is to dispel that darkness with God’s wisdom from above. Our struggle is a struggle for the pure wisdom from above. The pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5.8). God knows the heart. He has given us His Holy Spirit; thereby, purifying our hearts by faith (Acts 15.9). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7.1).
The light of God’s pure wisdom will characterize those who receive it in four ways:
- Such a person is peaceable, gentle, and willing to yield. This should be true of each of us. Christians who are quarrelsome, hard-edged, and stubborn are simply not living up to their station as a child of God. Wise believers promote peace, present themselves with a gentle spirit, and are very forgiving and forbearing when they are hurt.
- Such a person is filled with good fruits (conduct). He is compassionate and merciful. He sows a diligent Christian life and reaps the reward of doing so. He is not barren. The words of God internalized find their way out in godly, kind activity for the benefit of other people. Such a person is full of love and out of the abundance of their full hearts, their mouth speaks.
- Such a person is without partiality. Even the people difficult to love are loved. Even the distasteful work among them is accomplished. A person without partiality is a person who denies self. So such people don’t always choose pleasant paths. We do nothing with partiality (1 Timothy 5.21).
- Such a person is without hypocrisy. Good fruit cannot come out of a person who has not had his soul penetrated by the light of God’s wisdom. A person with only outwardly good conduct is a white-washed grave. If your heart is right with God, you guard against selfishness and focus upon the demonstration of the righteousness of God for the glory of God.
This pure wisdom is condemned in our world. People in the world and of the world consider God’s wisdom as a thing to be despised because it keeps them from doing what they want to do. The world calls the wisdom from God foolishness, but God calls it pure.
There is no cause for you to be ashamed of a godly life. Your life cannot be governed by the opinions of your friends. Your life cannot be governed by your own opinions. Your life must be built upon the solid foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus taught, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7.24-25). Don’t build your life on a faulty foundation.
You must pray and wait for the wisdom God promises to give. It comes from above through prayer and dependence upon the Word. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of god, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1.5).