We are enjoying a bit of Lenten quiet on Mondays here until Easter. I’m posting a verse, a devotion and a prayer. Peace and grace, friends…
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17-18)
When we think of the typical attributes of wisdom, we might consider words like knowledgeable, thoughtful, contemplative, experienced, discerning. But James’ definition goes so much further, introducing descriptors we might never have associated with wisdom: gentleness, peace-loving, merciful, sincere, fair, yielding to others and a doer of good deeds.
The difference between James’ definition and ours is that James describes “wisdom from above” – a pure God-centered and Kingdom-centered wisdom, rather than a sullied earthly- or self-centered wisdom.
A person blessed with wisdom from above – a wisdom that comes from God – is not concerned with self-advancement or even self-preservation. A person blessed with wisdom from above is not focused on self but on the other. He plants seeds of peace. She plants seeds of mercy, kindness and goodwill. God’s kind of wisdom is humble, unassuming and based entirely on love for the other.
So here’s the most beautiful part about these verses: each and every one of us is blessed with wisdom from above. This isn’t a special gift given only to certain, elite believers; this kind of wisdom, God’s kind of wisdom, is offered freely to each of us.
We have the choice: we can live by wisdom from above – generously, selflessly, lovingly, gently – or not. We can choose the freedom of living a life guided by God-inspired wisdom or the imprisonment that comes with a wisdom created by our own flawed and fallible selves. Which do you choose today?
Lord, so often I am swayed by the wisdom of world. As a result, I succumb to selfishness, envy, bitterness and deceit. Breathe a renewed understanding of Your wisdom into me today, Lord, so that I may live peacefully, mercifully, gently, humbly, sincerely and fairly. Amen.
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