What Is Wisdom?

What is wisdom? I propose that wisdom is not what we think it is.

So often, especially in our faith, we view wisdom as this thing that helps us make the right decisions. That’s partially true. God can and does give us the wisdom to make very difficult decisions in life.

James 1:5 says “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

But if we only limit God’s wisdom to that, then we are selling it and ourselves short. If we keep reading in James we see this idea of wisdom revealed again. This time, James takes us deep into the meaning of wisdom.

James 3:17-18 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 the fruit of 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.

Woah! That’s deep, right? Be careful if you ask for wisdom. It’s not just the ability to make the right decision or know what to do next. That can actually be a pretty selfish pursuit of wisdom. “How does this benefit me?” This definition of wisdom from James is very self-LESS not self-ISH.

It is first of all pure! Purity is all about doing what is right in God’s eyes and best for my neighbor (anyone I’m in contact with). We don’t often think of wisdom as something that leads us to purity, but James says it is FIRST that.

It is also peace-loving and gentle at all times willing to yield to others. Hello! Based on that definition, does our world need some wisdom right now?

No matter how you feel about “Black Lives Matter”, racial injustice, the election and politics, COVID and all its restrictions, or whatever else: Could we use some peace-loving, gentle, yielding to others kind of people today? Come on!

Wisdom shows NO favorites. (Except for in parenting. For my children, you know who you are. Ha!) And those who are peacemakers (the wise), they will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Wow! I think we should pursue THAT kind of wisdom every day! What about you?

Jeff Maness
I am a follower of Jesus first, husband to a beautiful wife, father to four amazing children, lead pastor of Element Church in Cheyenne, WY, and blogger of all things life.

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