Get Wisdom!

James 3:13-18

Well good morning, Saylorville! If you brought a copy of scripture with you today you can find James chapter three…as we spend one more time in James this year before we celebrate our Lord’s incarnation next week in our special services. We’re talking about keeping it real and we’re talking about keeping it real as it pertains to wisdom. Today there’s… a ton of content, I’m going to try to give it to you, hopefully not in a fire hydrant kind of a way, but wisdom. Get wisdom. That’s what we’re told to do in the Bible anyway.

I love to memorize scripture that…proverbially pops out when I’m reading my Bible, when something just sort of slays me spiritually speaking, when I’m convicted by it or I’m encouraged by it. I’ve done that for most of my Christian life. In fact, 40 years ago almost exactly that I made my way down to this area and went to Bible college, and I got a job at UPS, (United Partial Service). I was working as a sorter. If you’re a sorter, you’ve got to know every zip and city in the state and across the country, so it’s a lot of memorizing. Memorizing is one thing… doing it as another, (okay?) because if you were a sorter, you’d have hundreds and thousands of boxes coming at you. You’d grab a box, the label would be up, and then you’d either put it up here, down below or behind you. there’d be several shoots. The boxes could weigh between one and 70 pounds, and that’s the way the entire night would go. But I loved it because I was young, I was a lot stronger and I was up for the task, (or at least I thought I was, anyway.) About three weeks into it, it was a morning I was reading in Proverbs 12, and I read the first verse, and I was just enamored by one word. The verse goes like this.

Proverbs 12:1, ”He who loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

[Stupid] That’s the word that stood out to me. Some of you won’t even let your kids say this word. I thought it was so cool, I memorized it. Now I knew the verse. That very night at UPS, I was sorting right next to a guy who had been a sorter for years. He was just like liquid doing it. I’m dropping boxes, I’m all over the place… (but getting better!) and I asked him how he thought I was doing. He looked right at me while he was sorting and he goes, “Well, your sorting really stinks.” (audience laughs) I cannot tell you how upset I was in that moment! I did not deserve that comment. My sorting had– well, actually, it really stunk… but I thought it was better than he obviously did, and I bristled inside thinking, “I can’t believe he’d say that!” That was not very encouraging!” Then I thought of the scripture I’d memorize that morning. “He who loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Since then, over the last 40 years and on countless occasions, I have listened to believers, that is followers of Jesus, which is many of you, claim their openness to correction, openness to criticism, openness to reproof, rebuke, only to be confronted and get your dander up, defend yourself, and do everything but acknowledge the truth of what’s just been said to you. You know what that is? That’s stupid. That’s what that is. We’re talking about wisdom here. It’s certainly not wise.

I remember years ago one of our deacons… we were talking about somebody who was creating a fiasco wherever he went, and one of the deacons goes, “Well, you can’t fix stupid.” Well, maybe not… but God can! Can I get an amen to that? That’s when stupid becomes wise.

And so with that, one of the great wisdom passages in the Bible that we’ve come upon, James chapter three, beginning in verse 13.

James 3:13-18, 13” Who is wise in understanding among you? By his good conduct, let him show his works in (that beautiful expression here) the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition (and this is where it all begins) in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exists, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But (what a contrast!) the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason (If you have a new King James, my favorite expression, it’s willing to yield.) 18 And (please write that in there if you’re doing that in your Bible, because that’s the better translation. It’s willing to yield) full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sewn in peace by those who make peace.”

That’s how the context finishes anyway. Just real quickly, I want to give you three general truths about wisdom, because the Bible is replete with comments about wisdom. But let’s just say wisdom is, first of all, it is timeless.

In his book, Critical Biblical Theory [author] Christopher Watkin writes,

“If the principles that served me well yesterday are useless today, there’s not much point in wisdom.”

…and he’s right, because they’re timeless. God’s wisdom is timeless. It’s also ageless. We often associate wisdom with age, do we not? The Bible does that as well. Job chapter 12 and verse 12 says that in essence.

Job 12:12, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”

So there is that. You would certainly hope those of us who are older have gained at least a modicum of wisdom, but we’ve all met foolish people in their older age who don’t grow and develop in wisdom, so it’s not necessarily connected to age.

I got away with some friends this last week to Branson, and if you’re getting older and you want to feel young again, go to Branson. I literally walked into one of the shows, looked around, put my hand on the usher and said, “The youth group just showed up!” (audience laughing) But James says nothing about age. We often say ‘That man is wise beyond his years,’ because wisdom is not monopolized in somebody whose older, who has snow on the top of his roof, so to speak. We have a couple of Proverbs, Proverbs 9 and verse 10.

Proverbs 9:10,The fear of the LORD is the (what?) beginning of wisdom…”

That’s where it starts. Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom, and Proverbs 4 and verse 7 and the NIV puts it like this.

Proverbs 4:7, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it costs you all you have, get understanding.”

So that’s the title, Get Wisdom. It’s timeless, it’s ageless and it’s also multifaceted. By that I mean wisdom includes knowledge, understanding and experience. Those three things make up wisdom.

We all know, we should know that just because you’re smart doesn’t make you wise. Most of us have met smart people who are anything but wise, right? But on the other hand, it does take knowledge. Wisdom does incorporate knowledge. It’s what you do with that knowledge. So there’s knowledge. Then there is understanding. Understanding is the differentiation between knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is, you’ve got facts. Understanding is the ability to translate meaning from those facts, okay? It’s one thing to pass the test. It’s another thing to do what you just passed or comprehend. So there’s knowledge, there’s understanding and then there is experience or application. That’s what James has been after all along, right? “Be doers of the word, not (what?) hearers only because you deceive yourself,” [James 1:22] right? That’s the idea of the word “conduct” in James 3:13.

[James 3:13, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”]

He says improve it by his conduct. Let him show by good conduct that what he or she is doing is in the meekness of wisdom. That’s why… you need more than the book of Proverbs. If all you do is read the book of Proverbs, you’re going to be unbalanced when it comes to wisdom, because Proverbs is very black and white. ‘If I do this, my life’s going to go well. If I don’t do this, my life… won’t go well.’ It’s sort of black and white, right? But then … the same author writes in Ecclesiastes… he flips those Proverbs on their heads, so to speak. So there are several wisdom books in the Bible like Proverbs. So you need that… Ecclesiastes, Job, Song of Solomon, and the Book of James, right? These are all wisdom booklets. Again, Watkin says,

“Proverbs is true, but it’s not the whole truth.” Christopher Watkin

(By the way, we’re going to be putting out in 2024 a verbal Bible reading supplement for you who would like to latch onto it. We’re going to be reading through the wisdom literature so that we can be balanced in our understanding of literature.) So, how can I summarize this? It’s knowledge, understanding, and experience. It’s like Neapolitan ice cream, okay? It’s not Neapolitan if it’s just vanilla and chocolate, or if it’s strawberry and chocolate. You’ve got to have all three, right? You’ve got to have the strawberry. You’ve got to have the vanilla. You’ve got to have the chocolate. That makes it Neapolitan. And knowledge, understanding, and experience is what constitutes wisdom. This is how we show it, with good conduct that our works are being done, (and I love this expression at the end of verse 30!) “in the meekness of wisdom.” Meekness is not a word we should run from. Jesus literally described Himself that way, right? So what is meekness in this context as it comes to wisdom here? Here is my own personal operational definition of what… meekness is.

Meekness is being in full control of information and how to apply it in a given circumstance.

It literally means gentle strength. Many of you have probably heard it described as strength under control. That’s what it is.

James recognizes two types of wisdom. There’s wisdom from below and there’s wisdom from above. First he tackles the wisdom from below. The question of course is, “What am I pursuing?” because I guarantee in this group, many of you are not pursuing wisdom from above, but that should be the goal here, right? So first of all, let’s look at the wisdom from below. Again, that’s in verses 14,

James 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.”

This is not wisdom that comes down from above, but it’s earthly, sensual or unspiritual or natural and demonic for where jealousy and selfish ambition exist. There’s disorder, every vile practice. So we’re going to help you understand this a little bit. We’ll talk about wisdom from below here. Some of you are pursuing, let’s just call it, “wis-dumb”. (You won’t forget that!) And here it is in this passage… selfish ambition. The Greek word literally means party spirit. It literally pictures a politician canvassing for votes. That’s pretty contemporary, isn’t it? If you’re canvassing for kudos, you’re not just proud, you’re stupid. This is wis-dumb. This is why Solomon wrote,

Proverbs 27:2,Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.

And then really, this is where he gets down…. Verse 15…

[James 3:15, “This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”]

He describes wisdom that percolates from below as earthly, as unspiritual, and as demonic. Theologians like to remind us that we have three enemies, and they really line up, don’t they? Our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. Well, there you go. Earthly. What does that mean? It just means earth bound. It means that’s really where the word secular comes from. Something that’s secular is God-less. It doesn’t mean it’s just terribly inherently evil. It means you compartmentalize God right out of it. Your motivations are earthbound. You’re doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus said.

[Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”]

I just thought this. Somebody just told me in the last service that they had a really nice pair of gloves stolen out of their car last Thursday. And so they went to our tech guy who went and found the camera right on his car… could not find anybody breaking in and stealing his gloves, but the only car next to him was mine! (audience laughing) I said, “Dude, I didn’t take ‘em!” If you’re laying up treasures on earth, they get moth, rust corrupts… breaks through and steals.

This is why Paul says to the Colossians,

Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

If you only set your mind on things on earth, you’re earthly. That’s it. It’s worldly. It’s sensual or unspiritual. That word is the word “psuchikos.” We get our word psychology from this word. It means to be natural. It’s the very word that Paul uses in Corinthians when he says,

1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural (the “psuchikos,” the unspiritual man) does not accept (understand) the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (foolishness) to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Amen? That’s what the Bible says. Natural wisdom seeks to know only oneself. This is the wisdom of Skinner and Maslow and Freud. It offers no answers. It just identifies issues. It’s like Nick Long who’s in the room here this morning. Nick Long is battling cancer. It’s like him going in and having the doctor look at the PET scans and he says ‘Oh, yeah, you’ve got cancer.’ ‘Okay… next.’ ‘WHAT?! How about an answer?! How about let’s do something about this?!’ That’s the wisdom of this world. It can’t do anything about the… problems that it identifies.

Worse than that, today modern psychology embraces feelings and affirms sinful choices. Would you agree? Carl Truman in his book Strange New World tells us that a generation ago, if you went into the doctor and you said, “I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body,” he’d refer you to a psychologist for treatment, so that that person’s feelings would line up with his God-given body. Today, you’re more likely to be told that your body needs to line up with your feelings, and you’re probably going to get prescribed some hormone treatments. This is the reason why Hosea told us in the Old Testament,

Hosea 4:6, ”My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;”

This is all the wisdom of this world, this percolating wisdom from beneath, then he finishes by saying it’s demonic. Now, this is not a descending wisdom. It’s an ascending wisdom, ascending from hell. But it is descending in order; earthly, unspiritual, demonic. Satan is the king of deception. (Can I get an ‘amen?’) Deception by definition looks real, looks true, it sounds right. Remember, it was the Corinthians who Paul says they were the most knowledgeable. They had the gift of knowledge. These guys were oozing with knowledge, and yet he says to them in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, verses 2 through 4;

2 Corinthians 11:2-4, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

You’re gullible. Even though they’re knowledgeable, that’s why you can’t just say, it’s Neapolitan. It’s not just knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t make you wise. They had knowledge, but they were suckers for the culture of that day’s deceptions. Satan is a deceiver. That’s what he does. Later on in the passage, he masquerades as an angel of light. So two things Satan does, if you look at the end of verse 16, two things Satan loves is to foment. He loves to jack up. He loves to fuel… jealousy and selfish ambition. And why does he do that? The end of the verse tells us, because it creates disorder. It creates division. It creates infighting. It creates disunity, evil, and, in fact, every vile practice. We shouldn’t be surprised that these things happen. The apostle Paul and Jude, our Lord’s half brother, predicted that it would happen in our generation. Paul said to the Ephesians in Acts 20:29, ‘When I’m gone, grievous wolfs will enter in not sparing the flock.’

Have you read that? And then Jude, who really wanted to write, ‘about our common salvation,’ the Spirit of God stopped him in his tracks and said, “You need to write about contending for the faith for evil men and seducers have crept in unaware.’

[Jude 1:3-4, “3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in (unaware) unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”]

I often think about that here, and our elders do, and we pray over that, as we pray over you, because evil men and seducers will constantly try to creep in and corrupt, either with their former morality or doctrine or just this desire to worm their way in and cause disruption in unity.

Not long ago, we had somebody creep in. They hadn’t even been a member for a very long, but they attempted to create disorder and, (praise God!) we got after it. But this is all part and parcel to wisdom that comes from beneath. Wis-dumb. Don’t be wis-dumb.

Then there’s wisdom from above and I couldn’t wait to get here. There’s a lot here. But (I love this!) In fact, the New Testament Greek scholar, Douglas Moo, says that the way the Greek is here there’s a rhythmic element to it so that the readers in the first century that read Greek (like you and I read English) would have seen the rhythm. They would have memorized verses 17 and 18 because they just flowed together.

[James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”]

The wisdom that’s from above is first pure, and then it’s peaceable. It’s gentle. It’s willing to yield. It’s full of mercy and good fruits. It’s sincere, not hypocritical. But let’s look quickly at these. It’s pure. What a contrast to the wisdom from beneath, right? It’s pure. There’s nothing dark or shady about God’s wisdom. It’s pure. And so you ask yourself, how is your mind right now? How are your motives right now? Are they pure? That’s wisdom from above. It’s peaceable. Remember, it was Paul that said, in Ephesians 4,

Ephesians 4:3, ‘… endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.’

He said to the Romans, he says,

Romans 12:18, ‘As much as it depends on you, live at peace among yourselves.’

The idea of course is it’s not possible always, but you ought to be knocking yourselves out to be peaceable. (Amen?)

The situation I referred to a little bit earlier was just the opposite. This individual kind of crept in and they attempted to create friction, disharmony and alarm. I admire those with the ability to diffuse a potentially volatile situation with the wisdom of voice, demeanor, mannerism, coupled with truth. It’s a gift, I love it when I see it on display. It’s no secret that police officers… (we have police officers in our midst) are often called… Peace officers, (Why is that?) because most of what they do is de-escalate. Most of what they do is bring peace to a potentially volatile situation. It’s the most important thing they do. They’re not pulling their guns out all the time like in the movies. They’re de-escalating, and God has called His people to be spiritual peace officers in as much as it depends on us.

And then it’s gentle. (I love this word!) It’s a really, really cool word. It’s used just a handful of times in the New Testament. It’s very insightful. Listen to this carefully. This word “gentle” conveys the idea of relaxing an overly strict standard in order to keep the spirit of the law. Man, I wish I knew this about 30 years ago because I was so legalistic back in those days. I was so restrictive back in those days. I just gave no wiggle room. Everything was black. Everything was white. I’ve got news for you! Not everything is black, and not everything is white! There’s a whole lot of gray, and God has called all of us to be wise in these moments. This word is the same word as used in Philippians when Paul says,

Philippians 4:5, ‘Let there be reasonableness amongst you.’

It’s a great word! Recently, our elders wrestled over a policy that our church has. It’s a good policy. It’s a rock solid policy. It’s not the Bible, but it’s a great policy, and I would argue that 95% of the time we should implement this policy. But this was a certain circumstance where a particular time came for reasonableness, and we let reasonableness bend the policy. Don’t ask me what it was, by the way. I’m not going to give it to you. But it’s a beautiful word.

And then the next one is sort of a continuation. It says, “Open to reason.”

[James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”]

You see that in your Bible? If you have a new King James, it says, “Willing to yield.” (I love that!) That’s the better translation in my mind. “Willing to yield.” It’s an extension of what it means to be gentle or reasonable, and it’s much, much more than that. It’s way more than that. We yield. Think about it for a moment… When do we yield? We yield when we’re wrong. We yield when we’re moving too fast. We yield when we lack peace. Or at least we should be yielding, right? That’s when we should be yielding. We’ve all seen a yield sign, right? What does a yield sign tell you?… Is it telling you to stop? Not necessarily. Is it telling you to go? Not necessarily. It’s very subjective, isn’t it? When you come up on a yield sign, you’re forced to ask yourself some questions here. I need to slow down. I need to look both ways. I need to advance with caution… Right?

John Leonard, our missionary to Brazil… (he’s here this morning) Before he got all shot up, I was down there with him. They drive differently down in Brazil. I’m just telling you that right now! We were coming up to a yield sign… he blows right through that yield sign! I’m like, “Whoa!”  He looks over and he goes “Pat, down here, yield means ‘go’ and ‘stop’ means slow!” I thought, “Whoa… Up there it’ll kill ya!”

Not long ago, a friend of mine, and I blew through a yield sign spiritually speaking. We were dealing with a certain individual, and both of us got those senses that, eh, don’t move too fast… but we did, and, let’s just put it this way. We ended up with a spiritual fender bender. That’s because we ignored the yield sign.

By the way, this is what Paul meant when he said in

Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…

You ever read that? That’s the only time that word “rule” ever appears in the New Testament. It literally means to play the role of an umpire. That’s what it means. And what does an umpire do? An umpire makes difficult calls. They make the call, right? And he’s saying that the peace of Christ is the ruler. He’s the umpire in your life, and I think David might be, next to Jesus, the greatest example in the whole Bible on being willing to yield. He wrote in Psalm 141, he said,

Psalm 141:5a, “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.

Have you ever read that? So what did David have in mind when he said that? Do you think he had in mind the time when he was in the cave and and was urged to kill Saul and just cut his robe and even cut in his robe? His conscience got to him. Remember that? Do you think he had in mind the time, out of pride, he had his general go and count the number of troops that he had to see how strong he was (Remember that?) and his conscience bothered him again? Did he have in mind the time after committing adultery with Bathsheba when Nathan came and said “You’re the man!” Remember what he said right after that? He said, “I’ve sinned…” and he wrote Psalm 51. [In 2 Samuel 16] Did he have in mind the time when Shimei… (now there’s a name you don’t come up with very often!) as he was leaving town… His son, Absalom, has taken over the kingdom. He’s fleeing the town, and one of the relatives of Saul, Shimei, is throwing rocks at him and saying, ‘Yah!!’ and cursing him! One of David’s men says, ‘Let me take his head off, this little wag! Let’s take his head off!’ and David said, ‘Don’t do it. I probably have it coming.’ When I read stories like that in the Bible about David, I think to myself, when people say, ‘What made him a man after God’s own heart?’ THAT’s what made him a man after God’s own heart, his willingness to yield, to be sensitive to God and to move only as God would have him move, and even when he didn’t, to confess that.

Then James says wisdom is not just gentle and open to reason or willing to yield. It’s full of mercy and good fruits. These aren’t words, these are deeds. This is the idea of the word “conduct” back in verse 13. James doesn’t really care about what you’re sticking in your head. He wants to know what’s coming out of your life!

When I read this, I have lots of people that come to my mind like Bekah Rotert and our Heart for Des Moines ministry, like the Swartzendrubers, like Lori Tashner over here. I mean, ‘because he wins souls is wise’… (Amen?) And so many more of you. I see mercy, I see good fruit, and I say, “Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!”

That’s wisdom. It’s impartial. This is the only time this word ever appears in the New Testament. It literally means indistinguishable. That’s what the word means. Indistinguishable, which means that wisdom doesn’t consider looks, ethnicity, power, personality, or social status. It just doesn’t. It’s impartial, it’s indistinguishable and it’s sincere. Some of your Bible say without hypocrisy, which is actually the better translation, because the Greek word is hypocrisy with a negative in front of it. It’s not hypocritical. We have a different word, a positive word which is “authentic.” We love that word which, by the way, one dictionary listed as the number one word this last year… authentic. Why do we love things that are authentic? Because we hate phonies! (Amen?) Nobody likes a phony. And if this kind of wisdom is issuing from your life, the wisdom from above, real wisdom, then verse 18 comes into play in a harvest of righteousness.

[James 3:18, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”]

The harvest is the result, right? It’s sown, so it had to take place months earlier, (right?) to get a harvest… in peace by those who love peace. It’s a bumper harvest.

So here’s how I want to conclude this morning, with a checklist. It’s Christmas time. You’ve got that checklist. Most of your list is probably checked off by now, most of you, unless you’re like me, but …Let’s look at wis-dumb’s, checklist, okay? Each of you really carefully think to yourself right now. Are you jealous? Are you selfish? Is everything about you? (because that’s wis-dumb) Are you divisive? Do you tend to fight over everything and look to not being peaceable but divisive? Are you worldly? Is everything about your life just grounded right here? You’re not setting your mind on things above. If so, that’s wis-dumb. That’s stupid. That’s coming from somewhere else and it’s not from heaven. So let’s look at wisdom’s checklist. It was a big one, but let’s just ask ourselves a couple of simple questions. Are you pure? Where is your mind right now? Where is your life right now? What do you meditate upon? What are you doing? Are you peaceable? Are you one of those who would defuse a situation or fuel it? Are you gentle? … Are you willing to relax a policy that’s not chapter and verse in your own life, in your own way of doing things? Are you willing to relax that for the cause of Christ and the benefit of others? Are you open to reason? That is, are you willing to yield? When God comes at you through Himself, His word, a song, a fellow believer, you get confronted on something you’re doing, the direction you’re going, and you know it’s wrong. You see the yield sign… and you blow through it! Or do you say, ‘Okay, I need to hit the brakes here.’ It might be you need to ask for forgiveness, like David. Are you merciful and fruitful, because James is asking you to keep it real? Is it coming out? Are you impartial, paying no mind, to the things that you are naturally given toward when it comes to another individual?

And then lastly, (and this is the whole theme of our study of James, right? Keeping it real) are you real? Are you authentic? There are a number of you that are here, and some of you watching online as well, that are not wise. You don’t know wisdom because you don’t know Jesus. And after all, in Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Amen?) The wise men came giving gifts. Jesus came to give a treasure… the treasure of Himself. If you’ve never seen yourself as a sinner separated from God, the reason you don’t walk in wisdom, you’ve never looked upon Jesus as the one who died for you to give you the greatest treasure of all, eternal life… (and praise be to God for his indescribable gift, right?) You’ve never been there? Trust Him today. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, and you’ll be able to hook into wisdom from above.

Let’s pray together. Our Father, we thank you for the wisdom from above, for our Lord Jesus who is, and was, and ever will be the very embodiment of wisdom itself. And we pray for those who have never experienced wisdom from above because they’ve never known the Lord Jesus. If that’s you, dear friend, humble your heart right now. Confess your sin, turn to Christ and be saved, especially if you’re one who’s utterly earthbound in all of your motivations. That’s just tell-tell for not knowing God. And then Lord, I pray for those of us who do know you and love you. We don’t want to be wis-dumb. We want wisdom, not from beneath, but from above. That is pure, that is peaceable, that is gentle, that is willing to yield. It’s full of mercy and good fruits, a wisdom that’s impartial and sincere. And Lord, we know that when we have that kind of wisdom, then you will give us an abundant harvest because we’ve sown in peace.

In this Christmas season, Lord, as we draw so much of our attention to our Lord Jesus, and we think of great stories like the wise men who came bearing gifts, help us to be enthralled by the irony that they were giving gifts to the one who would give them treasure. For it’s in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


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