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. But 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 down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But 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. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” Well, that depends on your definition or standard of wisdom.
Are you wise?
There is a kind of wisdom that is fueled by selfish ambition and bitter envy. Such wisdom wants to get ahead in life; it wants to fulfill its desires at whatever cost. It is willing to deny the truth to do so, even to the point of resorting to evil practices. Though it leaves a trail of disorder in its wake, it boasts of the great things it has accomplished. The Bible calls this earthly wisdom. It also calls it unspiritual, even of the devil. It is wisdom which is characterized chiefly by a selfish focus on me.
There is, however, another kind of wisdom. It is never willing to sacrifice the truth; it is pure. Rather than seeking to get ahead of others, it is peace-loving and considerate. Rather than striving for personal gain, it is submissive and full of mercy. Instead of resorting to evil, it bears good fruit; it is impartial and sincere. Such wisdom has no room for boasting; it is full of humility. The Bible calls this heavenly wisdom. It points out that it produces a harvest of righteousness. It is wisdom that is characterized chiefly by a loving focus on others.
Are you wise?
As you fight the temptation to be me-focused and strive to lovingly focus on others, remember where true wisdom comes from. It comes not from within or below. It comes from above, from God. It comes from the One who was and is wisdom personified. It comes from the Savior who never sinfully focused on himself and always lovingly focused on the spiritual and eternal welfare of others. Remember that this wisdom is revealed in and fueled by the gospel.
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” The one who knows and trusts and walks with Jesus.
Lord God, forgive me for the times I have embraced earthly wisdom and left behind me a trail littered with hurt and hardship. With eyes focused on you and others, may my faith shine as I pursue and practice heavenly wisdom. Amen.
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