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Monday, July 24, 2017


So, we've already looked at knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. We know that knowledge is information, understanding is knowing how the information works, and wisdom is knowing what to do with it. Not too tough to understand.

But did you know that not all wisdom is a good thing? In James 3:13-18, James talks about two kinds of wisdom. There is "wisdom from above" (James 3:17) and wisdom that is not from above (James 3:15). Needless to say, one is good and one is not. How are we to tell which is which? Well, it's all there.

Worldly wisdom is evidenced by jealousy and selfish ambition (James 3:16). It is "earthly, natural, demonic" (James 3:15). It is rooted in worldly thinking over against God's thinking. It is predicated on natural ideas instead of God's ideas. Its source is from God's enemies -- demons -- rather than from God. This wisdom requires first and foremost "me". "I decide what is right. I decide what makes sense. My likes, dislikes, ideas, preferences, and views determine what is and is not, what should and should not be, what we should and shouldn't do."

Wisdom from above is the opposite, of course. "The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) The word translated "pure" means most literally "holy". It is separate. It is "other". It is not earthly. It is gentle -- appropriate, mild, kind. It is reasonable. Imagine that! The wisdom we are to use is reasonable. Godly wisdom is not illogical, irrational, insane. (Remember, this is the opposite of worldly wisdom.) It is not selfish but is compassionate. It is full of good fruits where worldly wisdom endorses sin. It is without hypocrisy where worldly wisdom wears masks to cover its failures. Where worldly wisdom uses worldly thinking as its source, wisdom from above uses God's thinking -- Scripture. Where worldly wisdom starts with the basis of the natural, the physical, the material, wisdom from above begins with "other" -- God's thinking that is above our own. Worldly wisdom has Satan as its source -- "Did God say ...?" (Gen 3:1) and "You will be like God" (Gen 3:5). Godly wisdom agrees with God's Word and submits to God.

Unfortunately, when we stand on wisdom from above, predicated on God's Word, it is viewed as all the things that it opposes. Instead of holiness, they think it's evil. Instead of peaceable they think it's contentious. Instead of kindness, they consider it cruelty. Instead of reasonable they think it's irrational. Instead of loving, they think it's selfish. Instead of being without hypocrisy, they see it as the definition of hypocrisy.

So, you have to decide. Is the Word of God right, or is the world? Scripture claims that wisdom from below is worldly, earthly, natural, demonic, self-centered. Is Scripture right, or is the world? Does God decide what is and isn't true, what is and isn't right, what is and isn't wise, or do we? Your call. But one thing is clear; godly wisdom and worldly wisdom will show themselves in behavior (James 3:13-14). What do your deeds say about your wisdom?

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