Hello Brothers and Sisters!
James has taken his reader on an interesting journey of reflection and challenge as he has encouraged them to strive to achieve a perfect/complete faith. He knows it will take an extra measure of wisdom to navigate the trials and tribulations his fellow Christ-followers will face in the pagan environments they now call home.
He has warned them of the destruction that comes with the disorder and evil practices associated with developing an earthly wisdom. It seems appropriate for him to redirect his attention towards the other wisdom option – the wisdom that comes from heaven. It should be noted that if this wisdom is coming from heaven it is understood that it is wisdom that comes from God.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (verses 17-18)
It is interesting that James shared two characteristics associated with the earthly wisdom: bitter envy and selfish ambition. His definition of a heavenly wisdom includes eight different characteristics.
Those possessing a heavenly wisdom will first and foremost be pure. “Pure” is defined as being “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating matter.” In scripture, “pure” often refers to being without sin. In this instance James seems to be referring to “pure” as being uncontaminated by the characteristics of the world, being singularly filled with godly characteristics. It is possible that we can be so singularly focused on “accepting God’s words and storing up His commandments within us” that we turn our ear purely to His wisdom, applying to our hearts to His understanding, demonstrating the FEAR (reverence) of the Lord and finding our knowledge in Him.
Being pure should be extremely important to followers of Christ. When we demonstrate purity that comes from possessing heavenly wisdom there are great benefits we begin to enjoy. We have already shared a significant benefit: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom YOUR DAYS WILL BE MANY, AND YEARS WILL BE ADDED TO YOUR LIFE!!!” Proverbs 9:11 (I added the exclamation marks.)
A second characteristic of having a heavenly wisdom is that we will be peace-loving people. Peaceful people will automatically be those who strive for unity. So, possessing heavenly wisdom will translate into being a person who reaches out to others peaceably.
Scripture deals with the subject of peace frequently with various forms of the word “peace” appearing in the King James Version of the bible 429 times! The word appears over 90 times in the New Testament, not counting other versions of the word (peaceful, peacefully, etc.).
For many, the focus is achieving peace with God. Paul provided some insight into the blessing of having peace with God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE OF GOD, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Being at peace with God should naturally translate into being at peace with each other.
It will be the natural characteristic Christians emulate in their lives. “Blessed are the peacemakers for their will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Matt. 12:14
“Whoever would love life and see good days…..they must turn from evil and do good; they must seek PEACE and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:10a, 11, 12)
A third characteristic of having a heavenly wisdom is being considerate. Think about the consideration God has shown each of us. First, “He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans) 5:8 Secondly, God continues to show consideration for us by allowing us to experience His grace every day of our lives, even though we continue to fall short of His glory. And thirdly, the greatest consideration we could ever hope to receive will be offered to us when we stand before the judgment throne of God and He allows us to enter into His glory, which HE gave to us through His Son.
People who are considerate of others will be those who do not approach life’s situations strictly from a selfish perspective. They are the people who think beyond themselves. They are accommodating, obliging, thoughtful and cooperative. The wisdom of God is ALWAYS considerate: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
So, there we have the first three characteristics brothers and sisters in Christ who have attained a heavenly wisdom will display. They will be pure people, peace-loving and considerate of others.
So, how do we measure up!
Have a great day!