Are you wise? In other words, are you someone who has wisdom? How do you know? James helps us out in the third chapter of his letter. He says,
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
The Wise Possess Two Things
James tells us a wise person possesses two things.
(1) Good Conduct – The wise are consistently obedient to God’s Word.
Consistent obedience to God’s Word results from an understanding of who God is and who man is.
God – He is our Creator, Judge, Savior. He is the all-knowing, ruler of the universe.
When we understand who God is, we should fear Him. We should stand in awe and reverence of Him, knowing He has the ability to punish.
Man – We are sinners who have been saved by an all-powerful God.
When we understand who we are, we should want to know God’s Word and obey it. This is why wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.
(2) Humility – The wise are not overly impressed by a sense of self-importance.
This again results from an understanding of who God is and who man is. When we view ourselves in the grand scheme of things, we realize we are not all that important.
Essentially James is saying those who are wise act in accordance with God’s Word and are humble in their actions. They serve God and others instead of serving themselves. They do not boast about their actions in a way that promotes themselves. Those who act in this way show they are wise.
So we see that James doesn’t assess someone’s wisdom by how much they know, but by how they act.
You can know everything there is to know about the Bible. You can read Greek and Hebrew. Recite all the stories and parables found in the Bible. Know the main themes and major shifts in every book of the Bible. You can have your doctrinal I’s dotted and theological T’s crossed. You can do all these things, and still not be wise.
It doesn’t matter how much you know, you are not considered wise unless you have good conduct and humility in your actions.
Question for Reflection
- Do you meet James’ standard for wisdom?