“Change my heart, O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, May I be like You” (Eddie Espinosa).
Read James 3:13–18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHow important is it for you to win an argument?
The verses we read today are almost a recap of what James has said about biblical wisdom. We are reminded that true wisdom comes from God, and that it manifests itself in right relationships.
A clever intellectual arrogance or a selfish one-upmanship that leads to quarrels and division is the opposite of what God sees as wise (15). In our modern world, being wise is often equated with intellectual expertise. And unfortunately, the Christian church is not immune from that way of thinking. But this is not the wisdom described here.
Once again James writes of a practical, lived-out wisdom. What words are used to describe this wisdom from God (17)? Note that the behavior that comes from this lived-out wisdom ensures that the wise person lives well with others. Biblical wisdom is a gift of God’s free grace, is seen in the transformation of one’s character and, above all, shows itself practically, particularly in the treatment of others (17,18). It is love in action.
The wise person imitates the life of Jesus in their selfless love and humility, in maintaining peace in their relationships and in a radical service of others. The life of a wise person results in a goodness that radiates “a harvest of righteousness sown in peace.”
Make a list of your choices and responses throughout the day. Determine whether they reflect heavenly or earthly wisdom.
God, replace my self-absorption with true wisdom from You, so that my life will radiate hope and peace.