I spend a lot of time thinking about the gaining of Biblical wisdom. It’s how I want the latter years of my life to be characterized. I want to grow in wisdom even as my body declines with age. So I am often searching the Scriptures for how to gain a heart of wisdom and what it looks like in practice. As I’m currently finishing up Beth Moore’s study of James, Mercy Triumphs, it makes sense that I would once again be pondering James’s words on wisdom. Especially this gem:
I want this kind of wisdom to be visible in my life, but I fear I often display the opposite qualities. My motives are rarely pure. I often rush into conflict instead of promoting peace. Gentleness doesn’t come easily to me. Reasonable? Rarely. Mercy is hard. Good fruits seem to fall quickly from my tree. And unwavering–well, that harkens back to James 1 and the double-minded man. I fight being of two minds, thinking my thoughts are on par of those of the Living God.
It’s interesting that the root of this struggle within me is explained in James 3:16: For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
Jealousy. Selfish ambition. They still rise up within me, in spite of how often I’ve seen and experienced the truth that they feed disorder and every evil thing. So how do I find the wisdom from above? I love that James doesn’t leave us in the dark. He tells us a few verses later that God gives a greater grace. He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
And there it is. Humility is the antidote to jealousy and selfish ambition. Humility is the seed from which wisdom grows. How do I find that humility? Thankfully, James explains that, too.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:8-10)
I am so grateful that when I recognize my sin, repent of it, and to draw near to Him, He changes my heart. He grows the wisdom. I don’t have to strive to grasp it for myself. In fact, any wisdom that comes from me isn’t wisdom at all. At least not the kind of wisdom I want: the wisdom from above.