Wisdom from Above

James 3:13-18 

The world is full of wisdom. There are offers of wisdom from about everywhere you turn, and devices and methods to help in your pursuit. For all of that, though, we are perhaps awash in information like never before but witnessing a famine of wisdom—both temporal and spiritual. For all that technology has delivered, wisdom is beyond its promises and, indeed, its reach.

Wisdom is more than knowing things. Wisdom goes beyond having a take or taking a side. Wisdom deals in the application of knowledge—information put to good use. From a biblical perspective, wisdom is what the Scriptures works in us and through us. Scripture does wisdom to us. As Paul told Timothy, “…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

With wisdom comes peace, and wisdom deals in peace, because peace is the forgiveness of sins, and wisdom is God’s gift to the forgiven. Forgiveness, after all, turns everything on its head, including human reason, and for this reason wisdom is often considered folly. Jesus parables and Paul’s letters remind us of this again and again. Wisdom for the Christian, however, begins at and flows from the cross. We are children of mercy and we are, through God’s declaration, good trees through whom He brings good fruit, including wisdom.

Why does wisdom deal in peace? Because Christ came to bring peace, forgiveness is peace, and forgiveness is for all, which drastically changes how we see each other and whoever we might consider the other. Even when we must speak hard truths, we speak them to people for whom Christ has died, including ourselves.

Do you want wisdom? It comes from above, even as theology starts from below. It comes from the Spirit who directs us to the manger, to God was made Man for us and our salvation. This puts to death the old man, so full of jealousy and ambition, even very religious ambition. This starts with the heart, from which sin flows. This is the starting point of wisdom and the place to which it returns again and again, so that we never grow out of Christ and the Scriptures, or beyond them, but deeper and deeper into them. And this is why our wisdom is meek, like our Savior, not for flaunting or self-congratulation, but rooted in the cross—His cross, our cross, and our neighbors. God grant us this wisdom. God drive us ever deeper into Christ and the Scriptures, even through the cross.

Wade Johnston

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