With Wisdom of the Holy Spirit
Page through the Bible and you will quickly realise that wisdom is very important in the Bible. The concordance on my computer gives 206 references for the word “wisdom”. There are even books dedicated to wisdom, for example Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
I do not think it is necessary to reason that we need wisdom. Examples and experiences of what happens when people do not act in or with wisdom, abound.
When things get tough, when we are challenged, when we are confronted with the brokenness of the world, when we are confronted with HIV and AIDS, we specifically need wisdom. Simple answers and nice slogans may wake people up, but they are often not more than a “flash in the pan”. To be the light of the world, shining from day to day, from season to season, we need wisdom.
The good news is that God gives wisdom and He invites us to ask it from Him. James 1:5 – “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (NLT)
Later in his letter James explains to his readers what this wisdom that God gives, is.
Read James 3:13-18.
Verses 14-16 make it clear that we do not have wisdom when we are full of ourselves. We are unwise when we envy people who are better off or when we look down on other people. When we cannot be open and honest and teachable we do not have wisdom. It is unwise to focus on our own benefits – what we can get or win or achieve.
Verse 17 tells us what true wisdom is. Wisdom is being kind and willing to help. Wisdom seeks the best for others. You will know wisdom when you meet her, because you will be uplifted, comforted and enriched.
It is interesting to look at the wider context of the chapter. James begins the chapter by warning against the evil tongue. The consequences of unbridled words are like a fire burning through a forest. Therefore James ends the chapter with the opposite of the evil tongue: the wise person.
Wisdom is the opposite of the uncontrolled tongue. Words of wisdom do not hurt, do not burn, do not break, do not kill. Words of wisdom heal, build, comfort.
It is as if this chapter was a sermon on Ephesians 4 verse 28 - “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” (GNT)
James ends his “sermon” with a sentence that has been translated in many ways (verse 18). The NLT reads “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Oh, how we need God’s shalom, his peace in this broken world!
Only when we have God’s wisdom will we be able to plant seeds of peace. In wisdom we will be able to heal the brokenness of this world and work for wholeness.
When we labour in a wise manner, it will not be like building with straw. But it will be a building where people will come to be safe, to find hope, to be healed, to be saved.
It will be a demonstration of God’s righteousness.
To think about (or discuss): Can you think of an area in your life (or your congregation’s life) where you specifically need God’s wisdom?