Grown-Up Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.        James 3:17

In his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, author Robert Fulghum distilled wisdom down to a couple dozen things. These included sharing everything, playing fair, not hitting people, putting things back where you found them, taking a nap every afternoon, that warm cookies and cold milk are good for you, and goldfish and hamsters live differently than they die. That may be sufficient wisdom for a five-year-old, but as the apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). 

Adults look at wisdom differently, and James points out the differences between worldly wisdom and the wisdom God desires for you. What you do reveals what you know and how you react to situations reveals your level of wisdom. He contrasts bitter jealousies, selfish ambitions, boasting lies, and every vile practice with purity, peace-ableness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercifulness, impartiality, sincerity, and readiness to do good. If your life in Christ falls short of His kind of wisdom, ask Him, for He gives to all generously (James 1:5), desiring that your life reflect His goodness and His love for others. 

Intercede for believers who are still growing toward their maturity in the Lord. Pray that wise influences will be felt in the halls of government and that childish behavior is replaced with grace, dignity, and respect. 

Today’s Verse: James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Recommended for further reading: James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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