The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving(James 3:17 NIV).
Do you want to be wise? King Solomon did. And God blessed him mightily. If we lack wisdom, we should ask God. It’s a prayer He loves to answer. But James warns us about the dangers of what he calls “earthly wisdom.” He contrasts it with heavenly wisdom in two short, power-packed sentences.
Let’s reflect on these verses in the direct translation from the Greek Interlinear New Testament:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:17,18 MOUNCE).
The first characteristic of heavenly wisdom is purity. It’s also peaceable. Gentle. Merciful. Get the point? The wisdom that comes from above bears little resemblance to its worldly counterfeit.
Earthly wisdom has a swagger about it. It’s power-hungry. Commanding. In control. Eve found earthly wisdom irresistible. And tragically, sometimes, so do we.
But make no mistake. Heavenly wisdom is anything but weak. It comes with its own kind of power. James reminds us that this brand of wisdom produces humility. The Greek word translated humility implies bridled power. The very same word Jesus used to describe Himself: “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:28, 29).
Think about it. The all-powerful King of the universe, Wisdom personified, described Himself as humble. The sick were healed. The dead were raised. Demons trembled in His presence. He was true wisdom from God in human form.
That’s the kind of wisdom I’m seeking today—the wisdom that comes from above.
Lord, I ask for Your kind of wisdom, not the worldly counterfeit. Make me attentive to Your voice, sensitive to Your gentle whisper. Lead me in the pathway of true wisdom. I pray this in the name of the humble Savior who is also our conquering King!