There is this verse i have read so many times. I've memorized it. I've meditated on it. And then this morning, i get a text message or a notification or something on my phone, and i read this same verse again with completely brand new insight.
The Bible is amazing like that.
Let's talk about wisdom. Did you know there's more than one kind? James 3 says there is demonic wisdom and heavenly wisdom.
The term 'demonic wisdom,' almost seems like blasphemy, but it's right there. It says "This wisdom ... is demonic." (It's verse 15.)
What kind of 'wisdom' could the brother of Jesus refer to as demonic?
Have you ever heard anyone tell you to "look out for number one?" Has anyone ever told you that you need more ambition? Yes, i'm aware of the title of this blog.
Well, "... if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing." says James.
That's kind of harsh. Right?
Is it just me? Or does every commercial, every self help source, every everyone who seems perfectly NOT evil, encourage you to protect yourself and have ambition and improve yourself? Doesn't it seem like that everywhere you turn, you're told that the only way to get ahead is to push others down?
Well, what kind of wisdom isn't evil?
Let's see, "the wisdom from above is first pure,then peaceable, gentle..."
Could this be read, 'the wisdom from above is a wimp?' I don't know if i want to be a wimp.
Well, at least wisdom has a brain.
"...full of mercy..."
Ooh. I have to let that one sink in. God's wisdom is full of mercy. I think i understand that God is full of mercy, and that He wants me to be full of mercy. But wisdom - isn't wisdom more than just the right thing to do? Isn't wisdom the thing that is supposed to lead me to the most positive outcome? FULL of mercy. That's hard. Oh wait, there's more. I missed the end of the phrase.
"...full of mercy and good fruits..."
Is wisdom a wimp again?
"...unwavering, without hypocrisy."
So - not a wimp then.
Why are we talking about this again?
Oh. "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom."
So wisdom isn't just something you think. It's not just something in your head or in your heart. It's in your actions. Kind of like love. Remember? Love is a verb. Wisdom is a verb.
Why do i need to concern myself with wisdom?
Well, i can't sum this one up. Read Proverbs. Like the whole thing. But living in wisdom is something God wants for us and wants us to live by, and it comes from Him. It's like a billion good things come from wisdom.
Not demonic wisdom, you understand.
The good wisdom - the "from above" wisdom. That's the one that's good for us. The one that kind of goes against everything humans naturally do to protect themselves from pain. Unsuccessfully do, i'm pretty sure, but - anyway. And i don't think it's saying that we shouldn't have goals, so you understand...
Let's try to sum up.
If you are wise, with the kind of wisdom that comes from God, not from demons, your actions will be pure, peaceful and peace-encouraging, gentle, full of virtue and especially mercy. Your actions won't be bitter against those who hurt you; you won't be unforgiving or judgmental; you won't be all about looking out for yourself. And you will be completely unwilling to waver in this wisdom, no matter who is or isn't looking.
I think i have some or an enormous amount of work to do.
Thankfully, i found a tip in Proverbs and learned that wisdom, like righteousness, comes from God. That if i fear God and seek instruction and yield to God's teaching, He will give me wisdom.
Even with all that, this is hard. And i know i can't do it without Him.
Wisdom is not a wimp. It's impossibly difficult and can only be done with God's power and insight into the way of the spirit world, that we can't otherwise see.