WISDOM FROM ABOVE
James 3:17 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.
In verses 13 through 18 of this chapter, James compares earthly, or worldly wisdom - wisdom that descendeth not from above, with spiritual, or Godly wisdom - wisdom that is from above. Verse 13 assures us that wisdom from above is found in the person that has, not only gained sufficient knowledge, but demonstrates it through good works in their daily lives. Verses 14, 15 and 16 describe a person having earthly wisdom. Unlike the one that is spiritually wise, this person conducts his or her life in a manner that results in confusion and evil works. Worldly wisdom is driven by knowledge that is earthly, sensual, and devilish. It comes from an egotistical heart that is full of bitterness, envy, and strife.
The question we should ask ourselves, at this point is, what kind of knowledge drives Godly wisdom? Our lesson text describes it in detail. First of all, it is pure - unadulterated. It possesses knowledge from above - from God's word. It is not corrupted, defiled, or compromised with the wisdom of man. We should fill our minds with the pure word of God. It is from His Holy Word that we learn how He expects mankind to conduct their lives here on earth - to learn what God expects in return for His mercy. Here is what Paul told the brethren at Philippi they should do. They were to fill their minds with things that are pure, as well as true, honest, just, lovely, of good report, are virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Not only were they to think on these things, but they wereto do them (See Colossians 4:8-9). God's word is to remain pure - man is not to add anything to it, nor subtract anything from it (Rev. 22:18-19).
God's wisdom is also peaceable - it teaches, upholds, and supports peaceful relationships between all people of the world. Where God's wisdom is found, peace reigns supreme. Envy and strife reigns where worldly wisdom is the basis for life's conduct. In worldliness, lust prevails, which results in fighting and wars between individuals, families, races, and nations. As James says, in our lesson text, that wisdom, on which mankind is to rely, must be first pure, then peaceable. Peaceful conditions rely on the purity found in the wisdom of God. There is no basis for peace in worldly wisdom.
Wisdom from above is gentle. It promotes politeness and kindness. It opposes harshness, rudeness, and overbearing characteristics. One of the best complements paid to an individual is to be referred to as a gentleman or gentlewoman. A gentle disposition is the door that allows you access to others - to teach them the word of God. God's wisdom is also easy to be entreated. To entreat means to beseech or to persuade. God's word, then, is easily understandable, therefore it is easily persuasive to the student seeking the wisdom of God. Not only can you be persuaded by Godly wisdom, but also, once understood, you are capable of easily persuading others to accept, and follow God's word.
God's wisdom is full of mercy. It is compassionate; full of forgiveness; willing to answer the prayers of the righteous that seek His forgiveness. It is also full of good fruits. It is benevolent; full of kindness; willing to fill both the spiritual and physical the needs of those that seek and obey God's will.
God's wisdom shows neither partiality nor hypocrisy. God dispenses all His blessings without partiality to one's status in life. In the Kingdom of God, all of His children are treated equally. Likewise, the family of God is to demonstrate this same impartiality to all brothers and sisters in Christ. They do so by teaching and demonstrating this wise characteristic in their own lives. God's word is sincere and does not deceive those that hear, accept, and obey it. In it there are no inconsistencies or contradictions.
To be filled with God's word is not sufficient. Christians are to do His will - to take the teaching and example of the Apostle Paul ...to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery...through the manifold wisdom of God - wisdom from above.