Who is Wise?

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

In the bible, the letter from James is practical and cuts to the chase. He calls a spade a spade, and is very direct about cause and effect - What lives inside is lived outside.
I like how James begins this passage with a question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” By this very question he begins to sort the foolish from the wise. Those who are wise will give such a question an honest reflection - Am I wise? Am I truly wise?

Following the question is a proof: Those who are wise conduct themselves in the meekness of wisdom. Basically, “if you are wise, your actions will show it.” Good roots produce good fruits.

Everyone wants to be wise and be considered wise (no one wants to be a fool) and James knows this, so he goes back to the heart of the matter and distinguishes between true wisdom and false wisdom, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic” (James 3:14-15). In essence, if you say that you are wise but have a heart filled with bitterness, jealousy, and selfishness - then you're lying to yourself and others. James points out that these issues of the heart will be proven by “disorder and vile practices” (3:16). Bad roots produce bad fruits.

After exposing false wisdom, James explains true wisdom, “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” (James 3:17-18). The characteristics of true wisdom are starkly contrasted against bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Moreover, the harvest of true wisdom is marked by righteousness and peace, rather than the disorder and vile practices that accompany false wisdom.

With all this in mind, let us go back through James’ logic:
  • Who among you is wise?
  • What exists in your heart?
  • What is the fruit of your wisdom being lived out?

If you find the good fruits, then you have the wisdom from above. Walk in it.
If you find the bad fruits, then you lack the wisdom from above. Ask for it.

Early in his letter, James addresses those who lack wisdom with a practical directive, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

There is only one source for true wisdom, and He invites you to come to Him so that you may become wise and enjoy all the benefits of His wisdom.

May God richly bless you in His Son, 
Bro. Aaron