Wisdom From Above
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits; without partiality and without hypocrisy. [James 3:17]
Walking the walk versus talking the talk, there’s been many a compare and contrast on the two. The reality, however, is that the Christian life calls for both. Words are powerful, works are too; but the combination is the highest.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” [1:22] “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” [2:18] “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” [2:17] James surely highlights godly works as a Christian. However, he teaches that godly words are important as well. Last week we studied “taming the tongue.” It begins with allowing the Holy Spirit to control our speech. “But no man can tame the tongue” [3:8]. It is true, with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible. It is only God working through us, in our hearts and minds, that we can have any success at taming our tongue.
This morning we will look at the actual speaking forth of godly wisdom. It is not only what we say, but how we say it. It begins, however, with taming. We must ask the Lord to help us not to speak so quickly; to hold our tongue. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” [1:19]. When we start with hearing; hearing God first and then others, our words and manner will be on target. But it begins with holding [taming] the tongue. As the Spirit helps us in this area, true wisdom from heaven will come. Notice the characteristics in 3:17: pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
We desperately need this kind of wisdom from above; in the world and in the church. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” [1 Cor 3:19] “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Cor 2:14]. It is indeed the anointing of the Spirit that brings forth wisdom and tames the tongue, which is a clear mark of maturity. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” [Zech 4:6]