We’ve all learned (hopefully long ago!) that there are plenty of things money can’t buy. I mean, I think we’d rather have money than not! But no amount of cash can purchase real love, more time, good health, lasting peace, or a host of other things.
The older I get, the more I value wisdom. Parenting teenagers has shown me more than anything else how valuable wisdom is! It’s something that’s so important to have, yet it can’t be bought.
As Christian moms, we desire Godly wisdom. But how do we know if the wisdom we have is actually Godly wisdom? I think James 3:17 defines it well.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
I thought it might be helpful if we examined each of these characteristics a little further. If our wisdom is Godly, it will have these eight traits.
True wisdom lines up with what the Bible says. It doesn’t have any sinful thinking mixed in. It’s faithful to the truth found in God’s Word.
True wisdom isn’t contentious or angry. We know from James 3:14, 15 that those are characteristics of earthly wisdom. Instead, Godly wisdom is willing to sacrifice – not the truth – but our own preferences and strong opinions.
Does the wisdom we believe we have manifest itself in kindness? Godly wisdom is calm and rational. I would say that it always has the best interest of others at its core.
The phrase originally used here is “easy to be intreated.” In other words, true wisdom isn’t stubborn or unyielding. Rather it’s characterized by meekness and patience.
It should go without saying that wisdom that comes from God will be full of mercy. How blessed we are to have a merciful God! And just as He has pity and compassion on us, Godly wisdom will lead us to have the same for others. No grudges are held; instead, forgiveness is offered in abundance.
It makes sense that Godly wisdom would produce good fruit. Wisdom is generous, not selfish. Just like fruit, real wisdom is constructive, helpful, and worthwhile.
True wisdom doesn’t discriminate. James already dealt with this in chapter 2, verse 9. He says that if we have respect of persons, we’re in sin. God’s wisdom applies to everyone equally, regardless of their wealth, race, gender, etc.
This seems like a simple one to grasp. There’s no place in wisdom for hypocrisy. Rather, it should be transparent, without a hidden motive or agenda, not deceitful.
We need wisdom in every area of our lives. Thankfully God promises to give it to those who recognize they need it and ask for it in faith. [James 1:5]
Since I referenced parenting earlier in this post, let’s see how these eight tests could apply in a specific situation. Maybe my teenager asks to do something, and I’m not sure whether to allow it or not.
First, I look for a principle in God’s Word to give me guidance. I believe as we pray and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, He can direct us.
Then I talk through my decision with that child calmly, whether it’s a yes or a no, allowing them to ask questions and express an opinion as long as it’s done respectfully.
And if the answer isn’t what they wanted, I can empathize, without changing what I’ve decided. I let her know that I want good things for her life. And if I’m expecting her to live up to a certain standard, I’d better be doing the same myself!
God is the author of all wisdom. If we want that wisdom, we need to fear Him [Proverbs 9:10], ask Him for wisdom [James 1:5], and believe that He will give it to us.