Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. Ja 3:13.
I was listening to Francis Chan speak on the book of James in the Bible; he had a revelation about true wisdom. It really caught my attention because he was talking about how a person with wisdom shows it by their deeds. He also spoke on wisdom as character and not just head knowledge. The word wise, as used in the verse above, is translated from a Greek word (phrónimos) that implies a cautious character, denoting a practical skill as well as intelligence.
A person of wise character will speak and act with gentleness, humility, and mercy. This same person will be swift to hear and slow to speak and slow to wrath (Ja 1:19) James exhorts the readers early in his letter of this truth and then describes wisdom as character.
I kept thinking about the word meekness and decided I need to take another look at its meaning. Meekness is humility and gentleness, or one could say “humility in gentleness.” One can appear to be humble on the outside while on the inside, they have an ulterior motive. Some people will falsely submit to another so that they can fulfill their personal agenda. For example, a person who does not like conflict may submit to another simply to keep the peace all the while desiring to work through an issue but fearful of the result that may come from conflict.
God desires a meek spirit, a person who is gentle and humble But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. Jam 3:14-15
The idea that running from conflict is a godly way of dealing with things that bother us is not from the Holy Spirit. This way of thinking is something we have calculated in our own understanding to be a useful coping mechanism. It may be useful for the moment, but in the long run, it serves no good purpose for a healthy relationship to come forth.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Pe 3:4 NIV
There is an inner beauty that is of God that causes our spirit to align with His when we are born again. When this amazing and miraculous, supernatural occurrence happens, it is then that we can become the meek individual that Jesus said would inherit the earth.
Sensual & Demonic Wisdom
James said there different types of wisdom, one that is sensual, and another is demonic. He is talking about two different dynamics. One is the flesh, the carnal mind that desires the things that feel good and the other is the demonic thinking that is tossed into a believers mind to keep them in strongholds in their minds; neither line up with God’s will.
Going back to verse fourteen, we can see a type of wisdom that seems right to a man, but it is birthed out of vain imaginations, envy, jealousy, pride, bitterness, and the likes. Jesus said the heart issues of a person will come out of their mouths. Wounded people wound people with their words and actions.
We can tell the difference between sensual, demonic, or godly wisdom by applying the word of God to what we believe or how we see others act. If we see the aforementioned behaviors, then we know it is of God because where envy and strife are there is confusion and all kinds of evil works. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. - Jas 3:17 NKJV
Wisdom offers peace, gentleness, goodness, and mercy. These are the characteristics that God desires to see manifest in our character, the qualities of Jesus Christ. We can become more like this and overcome our ungodly issues by reading the word of God and applying to our daily lives, conversations, and relationships.
If you read the book of James in its entirety, you will see the theme of self-control and all that it entails, running through it. This letter is a necessity for all believers, especially those who wish to be in the ministry whereby they would teach others. There are consequences to our actions, and some of them can cause a person to suffer a greater judgment from the Lord than others.
Heavenly Father, I confess my sin of selfishness to You and agree with Your word that pride, as it is manifested in bitterness, envy, jealousy, and the likes has caused me to release an unkind attitude of wisdom to those around me. Thank You for giving me godly wisdom through Your word and for allowing me an opportunity to make things right with others by changing myself first. I relish the opportunity to be more like You in wisdom, love, and compassion. I ask that Your Holy Spirit would release Your fruit of gentleness and self-control in and through me. In Jesus name, Amen