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. – Jms. 3:13 NIV
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Although Mary the mother of Jesus had four other sons (James, Jose’s, Judas and Simon), after the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ, James seemed to be the only one that had his thoughts documented in the scripture. He was documented to have been the first Bishop of Jerusalem and he did leave guiding principles on how the Christian should leave some important aspects of life. In a five chapter scriptural book, James devoted the third chapter of his book to the need for the Christian to do all, to control the activities of the tongue (Jms. 3:1-12) but more relevant to today’s devotion is the second part of this chapter which he devotes to the need for the Christian to live his/her life wisely.
In the scripture for today’s devotion, James asks the rhetorical question, “who is wise and understanding” – Jms. 3:13a. Although the question at the time was directed at the Christians in Jerusalem, it remains relevant today amongst all people. The need to live life with wisdom and proper understanding cannot be over-emphasised. To live a life of wisdom is to live a life governed by experience, knowledge and good judgement. The experience may be either direct or confirmed indirect sources but it provides the base knowledge for making good and informed judgement on several aspects of life. Of course, these informed judgements will be based on proper understanding of the acquired experience. This is because any event may actually occur with one as a witness but one needs to have a good understanding of the underlying dynamics that led to the event before the experience of that event can be properly deployed in any future acts of judgement.
Bishop James however argues that wisdom and understanding are revealed not verbally but by the kind of life that the person lives and actions of the person – Jms. 3:13. The revealed wisdom is guided by the personality of the individual, as having a good knowledge and understanding of a situation will not be sufficient to make a good decision, and until a decision is made, the applied wisdom cannot be classed as either carnal wisdom or heavenly wisdom. Bishop James is of no doubt that a wise person can still take a decision that will be very negative because such allows carnal thoughts like bitter envy and selfish ambition to guide the decision. The product of such decisions will be disorder and occurrence of evil acts. Attempting to boast about the occurrence of such negative thoughts or deny their existence only worsens the situation as it is an indication of the non-willingness of the person to make positive adjustments – Jms.3:14-16. James concludes that such wisdom is earthly, unspiritual and of the devil.
According to Bishop James, the Christian should display a heavenly wisdom which is a product of a pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial and sincere heart that yields good fruits. He is in no doubt that unlike the atmosphere of disorder and evil practice that dominates an environment where carnal wisdom is being applied, a harvest of righteousness and peace is what dominates the environment ruled by heavenly wisdom – Jms. 3:17-18.
The environment for the Christian starts with the personal life, family, business and other engagements of the Christian. Is it characterised by peace and righteousness or disorder and evil? If the latter is the situation, there may be the need to confirm the type of wisdom being applied as it is most likely to be carnal wisdom. A resolution to revert to the use of heavenly wisdom will be your only choice. Indeed you have all the experience required to guide that situation, you have sufficient knowledge and a proper understanding of your situation but your lack of godly thoughts could just be the last hurdle that is leading you to make bad decision. Resolve to rid yourself of negative thoughts today and you will begin to produce decisions that will make you live peaceful, humble and orderly life and will project you as one with heavenly wisdom. May God grant you the ability to harbour positive thoughts in Jesus name. Amen.