Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wise Wisdom

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17)

Lest you think my title somewhat redundant, I would remind you that not all knowledge is equal. By that I mean all facts are not worth knowing. As a matter of fact, some things are dangerous to know. Eve chose to know good and evil (Gen.3) instead of God. Big mistake. In the first place, "facts" vary from person to person, depending on where he or she derives his or her authority. In Eve's case, she chose the devil's "facts" over God's revealed Truth. When the Bible says the truth shall "set you free," it is talking about the Truth, not just truth in general. The devil may have said a few things that were accurate, but I would never consider him to be the repository of Truth (Jno.8:44).

The same principle applies to wisdom. There is wisdom spoken of in verse fifteen of this chapter that does not come from above. In fact, the two are poles apart. The wisdom of verse fifteen is described as "earthly, sensual, devilish." See what I mean? I would call this worldly wisdom or "street smarts." The trouble is, we have come to consider Christians who have acquired some degree of these attributes through the years to be better equipped to counsel other Christians because of it. They may be better equipped to sympathize with their brothers and sisters who may be tempted by sin, or have succumbed to it; but it does not necessarily follow that they will be better equipped to help them overcome the temptation or be restored afterwards. If I read Galatians 6:1 right, the only resume one needs to restore another believer is spirituality and humility. Frankly, I try not to be overly impressed with other people's sins: I have enough of my own.

Verse seventeen gives us a way to spot the real thing, the Heavenly wisdom. First, it is "pure"; it cannot boast of any instructions in unrighteousness. It is "peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated." Heavenly wisdom never has to force its opinions on others, for Truth is its own best argument and needs no outside vindication. It is "full of mercy and good fruits," and is "without partiality" or "hypocrisy." It not only sounds good, it looks good; and it does not change to fit the individual or the occasion. All in all, would you not say, after seeing what this Heavenly wisdom actually looks like, we should be less apt to lightly claim it for others, and especially ourselves?

What kind of wisdom do I have, I wonder? The wise kind or the other kind? I don't want to know evil; I don't even want to know good. I just want to know God.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." (James 1:5)

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