Tuesday, March 5, 2013
WISDOM - Part III
By Hayley Boud
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, By deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom…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” James 3:13, 17
“Let him show”
The verse says that we should show our wisdom by the actions we do in “humility”. So we don’t have to tell people we are wise, they will discover it by themselves through our good actions. They will see by your wise decisions, by your transformed life, by the words you choose in everyday situations and they will discover you are wise without you having to tell them.
It’s not just the deeds we do that need to be good but our whole life: our character, our personality. A good life is someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit and this is proven by the good fruits they possess, “love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, goodness, gentleness and kindness Do my actions reflect wisdom or foolishness? Does my life reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
What are our deeds or works? The bible says that faith without works is dead/useless (James 2:20,26). For example, if I’m the leader on Wednesday, I know that if I spend the time reading the Bible, meditating and reflecting on a particular verse and working out exactly what I will say, my works will prove how wise I am because I will lead with confidence and I’ll have something to say that has depth and meaning.
“Wisdom that comes from heaven”
So what is the wisdom that comes from heaven? It is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”. This is the wisdom that comes from heaven.
Wisdom that comes from heaven (not wisdom as the world thinks of wisdom) doesn’t have any impurities: it won’t have any selfish desires or biases and it won’t cause someone to stumble, it won’t be motivated by self-interest or pride, it is humble and clean of sin.
Wisdom from heaven is “Peaceable” which means it brings about peace. It turns a difficult situation into one where people have peace. This is both physical (people are fighting and you help them to forgive) and spiritual (bringing peace between God and others with a gospel message).
“Considerate” or “Gentle”: find good strategies to help those around you, gently cleansing them with a soft sponge rather than attacking them with a harsh scrubbing brush. Find the right words to say at the right time spoken with kindness will achieve far greater results than pointing the finger and rebuking.
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” 1 Thessalonians 2:7
“Submissive” or “Willing to Yield” or “Reasonable”
Submissive means you give your will to someone else in the same way Jesus said, “not my will but Yours be done” when He prayed to the Father. It means we give complete control to someone else and that is what we decided to do when we became Christians. We decided to give our lives 100% to Christ and therefore, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” Gal 2:20 and we chose to give up everything in order to be a disciple of Christ (luke 14:33).
So wisdom is submitting our whole lives into the hands of Jesus our God and letting Him be in control and letting Him lead us and make the decisions for our lives.
Hebrews 5:7, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his submission”.
Christ Himself was listened to by the Father when He prayed because He was submitted to the Father….submitted to the point of death on the cross.
We not only have to be submitted to God but we also have to submit to:
- Authorities = 1 Peter 2:13
- Our husbands = 1 Peter 3:1
- Those who are older = 1 Peter 5:5
- Our parents = 10 commandments
- Each other = Ephesians 5:21
- The Spirit rather than our flesh = Galations 5:16
So to be truly wise in the eyes of God, we have to submit ourselves to the government, to our husbands, to our parents and to our elders. Obviously wisdom also means we will weigh it up against the Word of God and be sure that we are following Christ. If my dad tells me not to say grace, then I will have wisdom and say grace quietly without him hearing. I will submit to his authority while also remembering that Jesus is above everything. If the government says that I can no longer meet here and pray with fellow Christians, I will still meet but if I am caught, I will submit to the punishment. I might try to hire a good human rights lawyer and ask people to pray but I won’t fight the government, I’ll submit.
Reasonable means that we should not be excessive or extreme. Wisdom from heaven has sound judgment. Often Christians are extreme or fanatic. We have Pentecostals on one side and Open Brethren on the other. Some Christians are rigid with rules and others are free with no boundaries at all. It’s not good to be an extremist or radical. We have to be careful as Christians to judge everything and be balanced. We can’t be one sided, we have to know that faith is extremely important and we can only be saved by grace but we also have to know that faith without works is dead. We can’t focus on one and forget the other. We have to know the whole story, the whole Bible and we need the Holy Spirit for that.
We also have to be careful not to judge situations and be highly moral. I lived with four boys in a flatting situation when I moved to Hamilton and none of them were Christians. They were the best flatmates ever but many people told me I was wrong as a Christian to live in the same house as non-christians who were boys. They told me that I have to make sure to not give any appearance of evil, they told me that I would be a bad influence on others by encouraging people to live with their boyfriend/girlfriend, they told me that I would be in a place of temptation and I’d be tempted to sin and one man even told me that I was living in an orgy. I lived in that flat free from temptation and I was able to show non-christians a life that they might never experience without me being there and they also taught me a lot about my life. They kept me on the right track because if I messed up, they would say, “and you say you are a Christian”. So I was very careful not to mess up.
I have a friend who won’t let her child watch any tv or internet. It sounds like a good idea but now that the child is older, she visits my house and sees the tv. She is totally obsessed with it. When she is an adult, I believe it will be a big issue because the tv can teach a person many things. I learn a lot from watching nature programs, Christian tv, the news, and even ordinary movies can teach us. Being excessive is dangerous.
But on the other side, there are parents who are too free with their child and they do whatever they like. This is also a form of extreme and this is also dangerous.
We have to look at situations and make a sound judgment, balancing good against bad and come with a decision that is reasonable. The Christians who judged my flatting situation should have looked carefully, if they had, they would have realised that I was growing stronger as a Christian and my flatmates were receiving the Word of God in action. But there may be times when a person shouldn’t flat in a mixed situation, but that is where we need wisdom from heaven and not our own personal point of view.