Let me remind us where we are. The Big Idea today is that Wisdom is shown by its fruits in the heart and life. And James has shown us that an Earthly Demonic Wisdom that allures us as Christians, that seems good (it masquerades as light), but ultimately points towards ourselves instead of God and division rather than unity. Now James shows us with clarity what Heavenly Wisdom really looks like.
Wisdom From Above
Notice he starts verse 17,
James 3:17–18 (ESV) — 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure…
What that means is that no man naturally has this wisdom, it comes from above, meaning from God. You can’t buy this wisdom. You can’t earn this wisdom. You can’t muscle your way into this wisdom. Having a PHD does not mean you have this wisdom. This wisdom is a free gift from God! God has to take this wisdom that originates from Him and plant it in your heart. Do you remember when I said earlier that the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. What that means is that the moment you choose to place your faith in Jesus, surrender your life to God, and begin fearing Him in truth and love God then implants his Holy Spirit full of Wisdom into you. In other words, you can’t fake Godly Wisdom. You’ve got to trust in Jesus, His death as the atoning sacrifice for your sins. His blood shed for you. And then scripture says that Christ takes up residence in your heart through the Holy Spirit, and all of who Christ is begins being lived out in you. That’s the essence of Godly Wisdom, acting as Jesus would act.
James 3:17–18 (ESV) — 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
First it’s pure. This means moral purity. Pure like Jesus. Who scripture says, “He knew no sin, no iniquity was found within him, they could not find a reason to find Him guilty because was not guilty” When Jesus dwells in your heart, the Purity of Jesus comes out of your heart. This is Godly Wisdom.
Peacable. Peacable like Jesus who in the moment when he was betrayed, in that dark garden of Gesthsemane, and Peter standing by his side wanting to start a war took his sword and cut off the ear of the enemy before him, Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, and healed that man’s ear. When Christ dwells in your heart, the Peace of Jesus comes out of your heart.
Gentle like Jesus got down on his knees and washed his disciples feet. Gentle like Jesus who wept when his friend Lazarus died. Gentle like Jesus who gave food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and love to the unloveable. When Christ dwells in your heart, the Gentleness of Jesus comes out of your heart.
#4 Open to Reason
Open to reason, also translated “ability to persuade” like Jesus who though he had all knowledge of the cosmos, took the time to calmly engage in the meaningful questions people had, meeting them where they were, earning their trust by being with them in their brokenness. He didn’t make us come to him, He came to us. When Christ dwells in your heart, the humble persuasion of Jesus comes out of your heart.
#5 Full of Mercy
Full of Mercy like Jesus who on the cross when he was being tortured and crucified for the sins of the world, looked down and did not pour judgment on his accusers but offered forgiveness. Mercy like Jesus who continually pours love and compassion even on us! The guiltiest of sinners. When Christ dwells in your heart, the mercy of Jesus comes out of your heart.
Impartial Free from prejudice like Jesus who intentionally took the long way wherever he went in order to walk through neighborhoods where everyone refused to go because they were racist and didn’t want to say it. Like Jesus who spoke to the woman at the well who had been divorced seven times, and no one else would speak to but he engaged and shared the love of God with. When Christ dwells in your heart, the impartial free from prejudice heart of Jesus comes out of your heart.
Sincere like Jesus who never questioned where his loyalty lied. Who was not persuaded by Earthly wisdom to falter from His God assigned mission. Sincer like Jesus who even when his mission led him to a painful death, walked with clarity of mind and steadfast devotion never wavering. When Christ dwells in your heart, the sincerity of Jesus comes out of your heart.
This post is a segment taken from a sermon preached at Park Community Church South Loop on February 18, 2018 titled Wisdom From Above from James 3:13-18. The link to the sermon is provided at the bottom of the post.