Summary: I. The Definition of Godly Wisdom. II. Godly Wisdom Is Different Than Earthly Wisdom. III. How Godly Wisdom Works In Relationships.
Living In Godly Wisdom
Every day we have contact with many different kinds of people. Some are inspiring – others are irritating. Some are fascinating – others are frustrating. Some are delightful – others are dreadful. The fact is – many of the problems we have in life are because of the contact we have with other people. There are times when we just don’t get along with people. There are times when relationships stink and life feels bad. You may have lots of money and lots of possessions – but you’re miserable because of the relationships you have with other people. The truth is – it’s very important that we learn how to get along with people – living in Godly wisdom can help you resolve this problem.
The book of James gives us some very practical advice on how to build relationships with one another. A key verse in building relationships is James chapter three verse eighteen:
“The fruit of righteousness is planted in peace for those who make peace.” James 3:18 (BBE)
This is the principle of reaping and sowing. Notice that James talks about fruit. He says, “If you sow peace – you will reap peace.” The Message translation says it this way:
“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:18 (MSG)
Building strong, healthy, peaceful relationships takes WORK – they just don’t happen.
James tells us that every day we are planting seeds – seeds of anger or seeds of compassion – seeds of confidence or seeds of insecurity – seeds of discord or seeds of peace. You see – there are many different types of seeds out there. We all are planting seeds. Planting good seed is important. Knowing how to deal with people takes wisdom.
We all need to learn how to be wise as we build relationships. Often we treat people very foolishly and we provoke the exact opposite behavior of what we would like to see in them. Common sense many times – is not very common. A lot of smart people are not very smart at all – they are not very wise. In our text for today James does three things:
1. James tells us what Godly wisdom is.
2. James shows us how Godly wisdom differs from worldly wisdom.
3. James details how Godly wisdom works in relationships.
Let’s look first at:
I. The Definition of Godly Wisdom
James chapter three verse thirteen says:
“Who has wisdom and good sense among you? let him make his works clear by a life of gentle wisdom.” James 3:13 (BBE)
The Message Bible says it this way:
“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.” James 3:13 (MSG)
Wisdom is displayed in the way you live. In other words;
Wisdom is LIFESTYLE.
If James was to ask you today, “Are you wise?” And you answered, “Yes” – he would say, “Prove it – show me your wisdom by the way you live.” You see – it’s not a matter of what you say – it’s a matter of do – how you live. Wisdom has more to do with character than it does with education or intelligence. Wisdom is your lifestyle.
That brings us to the second point:
II. Godly Wisdom Is Different Than Earthly Wisdom.
Let’s look at verses fourteen thru sixteen:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
James 3:14-16 (NKJV)
Go ahead and circle the word – “earthly”. James is telling us that there are two sources of wisdom. One is Godly wisdom and the other is earthly wisdom. We can also call it worldly wisdom. One is Godly – and James says – the other is “demonic”. One is truthful – the other lies. One creates order and peace – the other creates confusion. Folks let me say this right up front – you can’t live in an ungodly manner and expect to have peace in your life. It just does not work that way. The lack of Godly wisdom causes all kinds of problems. The lack of Godly wisdom causes chaos and confusion.
Do you have confusion in your home? Do you have chaos at work? Is your life a mess? If there is not order and peace – you lack Godly wisdom. How does a person know if they have Godly wisdom? When there is Godly wisdom – there is truth, there is peace, there is order, there is mercy, there is compassion. Look at verse seventeen with me: