Humans have desired wisdom since the beginning of creation. Eve was tempted by the serpent with the lure of wisdom (Genesis 3:5-6). She succumbed to the “wisdom” that James warned about: “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. (James 3:14-15)” The wisdom that the devil and the world offer to us is a selfish, self-seeking, prideful, deceptive wisdom that will always lead us away from God and into the darkness of worldliness and sin.
Listen to the contrast James offers: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:13, 17). The wisdom from God is life-giving wisdom. It fills us with the character of Christ and is the opposite of the false wisdom of the world. Look at all that this godly wisdom offers to us. James says we will have understanding – the kind of understanding that will enable us to stand firm in what is right. Wisdom will be proven by the good life we lead, which means turning ourselves away from sin and wickedness and turning towards what is right, beautiful, and excellent. Humility is always the hallmark of godly wisdom – this humility is shown through the gentleness, kindness, and consideration we show to others in Jesus’ name. Godly wisdom is peace-loving which, in the original Greek, is a personal sense of harmony, tranquility, safety, and a lack of strife; it is having freedom from emotional worry and frustration.
When godly wisdom is the rule in our lives, we are more apt to make decisions that ensure freedom from worry and frustration. A gentle, kind, considerate nature and a submissive and compliant attitude will also mark us as people who have been blessed with the wisdom of heaven. James encourages us to seek wisdom, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). This was the wisdom that Eve could have enjoyed if she had trusted and obeyed God rather than taking the wisdom the serpent offered. Beloved, do you need wisdom – real, godly wisdom? All you have to do is ask.