“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is , there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:13-18).
How can we know the difference between true and false wisdom? To find the answer we must ascertain if what is being taught is pure, holy, and undefiled by worldly wisdom. True wisdom can only be found when and where the Scriptures are upheld and its message adhered to. “Wisdom is the ability to look at all of life through God’s eyes” (John K. Hutcheson, Sr.).
James reveals the characteristics of someone who lives according to God’s wisdom rather than that of the world. His list of ingredients cannot be shortened to make the outcome more palatable to compromised and worldly people.
Peace: If what is believed and taught does not promote peace with God then it will undoubtedly cause confusion and lead to greater heresies. True peace is built upon the solid foundation of God’s word alone. This is why the Lord Jesus describes His true followers as “peacemakers” and that only they can be “called the children o God” (Matthew 5:9).
Gentleness: Followers of false doctrine do not like it when their teacher or preacher is shown to be heretical. Rarely do we find them willing to listen with a humble heart, instead pride, resentment and malice is generally the attitude displayed.
Easily entreated: This can be translated as being “reasonable” and willing to cast off whatever is not according to Scriptural truth. How few are willing to submit to the clear teachings of the word of God today! “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:7-10).
Full of mercy: The wise show kindness, love and compassion when anyone offends and persecutes them, for they seek to emulate Christ in their daily lives.
Good fruits: The wise prove that they know the Lord by the way they live. The fruit of the Spirit in them demonstrates that their faith in Christ is genuine. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23) … “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9) … “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11).
Without partiality: Such a person acts fairly with everyone he comes into contact with, and treats all others as equals instead of thinking he is better than them. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Without hypocrisy: This term refers to someone who is consistent in their faith. He does not pretend to be a Christian in church, but acts like the unsaved when away from the gaze of fellow believers. This means he is a true follower of Christ in every walk of life. The wise and discerning are able to spot a phoney Christian because his behaviour, speech and attitude quickly give him away.
“If you lack you lack knowledge, go to school. If you lack wisdom, get on your knees!” (Vance Havner).
True wisdom cannot but manifest itself if we are committed to Christ in every aspect of our daily lives. Others will take notice, even those who despise us, as they observe our sincerity, purity and obedience to the word of God. Wisdom is the seedbed for the fruits of righteousness and holiness. True Wisdom is firmly settled on the solid rock of Scripture. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).