Wisdom: James Study (Part 5)

Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. People's wisdom is revealed in their character – the way they live, speak, treat others, and handle life situations. In the passage we're looking at this month, James compares worldly wisdom to godly wisdom. This isn't the first time James has mentioned wisdom. In chapter 1 he says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (verse 5)

Someone can be wise according to the world, but it doesn't necessarily mean they have godly wisdom. Worldly wisdom comes naturally to us as we experience life. We're wanting to seek godly wisdom, which is given to us by God when we humbly ask Him. Godly wisdom begins with the fear of God and means we view things from His perspective.

How can you tell if someone is wise? As mentioned earlier, wisdom isn't just about knowledge. Wisdom will be shown through our actions, by good conduct. Back in March, we looked at what James said about genuine faith. Faith is similar to wisdom in that they are inner qualities in a person that are seen through their actions. James then goes on to say that true wisdom is meek in manner. A wise person won't be do good works just to bring attention to themselves.

Earthly Wisdom

James is now going to contrast earthly wisdom with heavenly wisdom:

Those with earthly wisdom have qualities such as bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. This is the opposite of meekness mentioned in verse 13. Why would someone boast about bitter jealousy and selfish ambition? If someone has these qualities, it comes from a heart issue; therefore, they probably don't recognize these negative qualities in themselves. When someone acts out of worldly wisdom, it produces bad "fruit." James says there is "disorder and every vile practice." Some translations say "there you find disorder and every evil practice."

Nothing good comes from justifying our jealousies and being self-absorbed in our own interests/gains. We must instead seek to have biblical wisdom!

Biblical Wisdom

There are vastly different characteristics between earthly wisdom and biblical wisdom. Notice the fact that James is listing off characteristics or qualities. Wisdom goes beyond just having a lot of knowledge of something (as I mentioned in the introduction.) Just as earthly wisdom produces fruit, biblical wisdom produces fruit. Here is the fruit people will produce is they are wise:

  • They are pure: talking about the absence of sinful attitude and motive.
  • Peaceable
  • Gentle
  • Open to reason
  • Merciful
  • Impartial and Sincere

How can we become wiser?

Just as our character doesn't change overnight, godly wisdom isn't gained overnight. While James does say that God gives wisdom generously to those who ask, we still have to put in work. Godly wisdom can be gained by:

  • spending time in God's word
  • submitting to God's commands
  • being humble before God and others
  • admitting your pride, arrogance, selfishness and sin
  • Turning from our worldly desires and faithfully committing to God

Remember, being faithful to God in the ordinary, mundane, simple actions/decisions is still important! Wisdom can be gained in these moments, not just the big moments in your life.

Cornerstone Impact Update

Our Biblical Approach to Finances series has been going on since September of 2022. Each month, we cover a small portion of our workshop. The beginning of the workshop is all focused around our attitude towards finances and "stuff" because it's important to get that in-line before jumping into budgeting, etc. Here is January's blog in case you missed it:

A Biblical Approach to Finance: Attitude Framework (Part 2)
It’s been a couple months since the last post on Biblical Finance. If you missed the previous posts, you can check them out here. These posts focus on the foundation of a Biblical Approach to Finance. This month our main focus is going to be adjusting our attitude towards “stuff”

April was financial literacy month. Some of the content talked about is similar to what we talk about in our Biblical Approach to Finances workshop. If you missed those videos, you can find all of them here:

Financial Literacy - SEM Trader’s Blog


Here are some of the posts from Eventide from the last month:

Investing becomes much more personal when you realize that the therapies that save a loved one's life wouldn't exist if it weren't for investors.

The Boundless Depth of Gratitude
For me, it started on our would-be camping trip last August. The “walk-in” site that I had booked turned out to be a quarter-mile uphill hike from our parking spot, and my husband winced as he came gingerly back down after hauling up the first load.

Since the emergence of the pandemic rocked the market in 2020, we've been reminding investors of the timeless truths for investing.

With the recent market turmoil, those reminders are as relevant as ever.

Eventide CEO, Robin writes in CNBC, 'I've found that many people who invest in alignment with their values are better equipped to stick with their financial plans, rather than buying and selling at the wrong times. Values remain consistent, even when the market fluctuates.'

Here's the full article:

Op-ed: After the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, don’t try to time the market
What strategy can help you avoid a market timing mindset? People who invest in alignment with their values are better equipped to stick with financial plans.

Your Faith & the Workplace

Have you been following along with our Saturday morning book study? Catch up on all the previous posts here:

Every Good Endeavor - SEM Trader’s Blog

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West Point, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.