Devotion for Tuesday, September 14
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,
willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness
is sown in peace for those who make peace.”
What does it mean to be wise?
Often we get wisdom confused with knowledge. We think that being wise means being smart. As long as we learn some more and get our facts straight, then we will show and will prove that we are wise. And so we have public figures all seeking to show how much knowledge they have, how smart they are.
But when we hear the book of James speak, we can see a loving finger waved at us that says, “If you seek to prove you are wise, you have shown that you are not.” Wisdom is not proved. Wisdom is lived. And when we read this passage from James 3, we see that wisdom is not about knowledge; it is about what we do with knowledge.
Another version of this verse puts it this way:
“The wisdom that God gives is a very different matter. For
starters it is not contaminated by any ulterior motives. It
cultivates peace among people, being gentle and willing to let
others get their way. It is so full of the fruits of generosity,
forgiveness and love that it could never find room for even a
shred of prejudice or hypocrisy. Those who invest in peace — not
just hoping for it but really working for it — will reap rich
dividends in a life of wholehearted integrity.”
Do you want to be wise? Then, be gentle. Do you want to be wise? Then, let others get their way. Do you want to be wise? Then, cultivate peace. Be filled with generosity, forgiveness, and love. Live in integrity, and do not worry about whether others see you as “smart” or not.
Do you want to be wise? Then, do not seek to be known as wise. Seek only to live in the love and mercy of God.
God, I confess that my pride gets in the way of your wisdom. You seek to guide me, and I want to take the reins. I give up my control to you and seek to live in your ways of love and mercy.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.