James 3:17 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. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
The tongue is a problem for all of humanity. James wrote about this a long time ago. Today he’d probably say that using the fingers to write things is also a problem. Within this context he is telling us what happens when our focus becomes the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of this world. There is a major difference. God’s wisdom is pure; untarnished by the opinions of the world. This wisdom constantly seeks to fulfill the mission of God and to bring peace. This wisdom is gentle as it takes time to listen to the thoughts and opinions of others and is willing to yield when common ground can be found. Compassion overflows from this type of wisdom, pouring out good on those who are in need and is willing to associate with everyone. There is no pride in the heart of the one filled with pure wisdom, but a deep love for all of humanity.
The final phrase sounds a bit like a proverb. There is something important here to understand about God’s wisdom, because it leads to a harvest of righteousness because it is sown in peace. Those who seek the pure wisdom of God become peacemakers.
I spend a lot of time traveling so I read a lot of books. There are so many books these days that want to teach you about how to do just about everything. There are so many experts in every topic imaginable. At the same time, there are so many opinions about how to do everything that it can make your head swim. How do we know how to move forward in this rapidly changing world? (This weeks’ reading has included, “Thank you for being late” by Thomas Friedman) The reality is that we are on such an accelerated learning curve that we are reaching the limits of human capacity. You’ve probably already figured this out but the rate of change is so fast that we will not be able to keep up with it anymore.
If this is the case, then how are we, as humans to keep up with what is going on? I believe this wisdom from James is more vital for us today than we have ever understood. The only way that we can tap into the limitless wisdom of God is by getting to know God. This may just be the answer to humanity’s conundrum to the frenetic pace of change. Instead of trying to deal with it from our human understanding, we are invited to slow down and get to know the heart and mind of God. Remember, we were told to seek first the kingdom, and then the real needs of our lives will be cared for by our heavenly Father. I believe that this includes the wisdom that is needed to live in this world today.
When everything feels as if it’s on overload, let’s slow down and seek the pure wisdom which comes from knowing God.
Lord, thank you for your wisdom to guide us in this rapidly changing world. Amen.