Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. ~ James 3:13
The thrust of the teaching in the book of James, one of the four the half brothers of the Lord Jesus, is how God matures our faith in Him. Everything in this book is predicated upon James 1:5 which reads, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
If we claim to have God's wisdom, that means we are doing well in the process that we entered into when we first became believers in Christ. This process is called "sanctification." In reality, sanctification is the garnering of God's wisdom or His definition of all things. As we garner God's wisdom, He will change us from the inside out. The goal of the process is NOT to get us into heaven, the goal of this process is to get heaven into us, so that others would inquire of Him who is changing us. Our sanctification is not about a better us, it is about a more prominent Christ seen in and through our lives.
In 1 Kings 4:29 we read, "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore."
Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all others, because he asked God for it, and it was granted to him. In today's verse, James asked, "Who is wise and understanding among you?" The preeminence of this question has been proven down through the centuries through those who acquired all this world had to offer, like Solomon, who had it all and knew there was more. This is when he cried out for God's wisdom which is one's transcendent view of life. It is wisdom that enables us to recognize the good in something bad, and, it is wisdom that enables us to see something bad in something good.
Together, the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes give us the cry of the human soul for wisdom. In Psalms we have the emotional nature, which is one part of the soul function. Ecclesiastes deals with the function of the mind, the search of man's reason throughout the earth, analyzing, evaluating, weighing and concluding on the basis of what is discoverable. In the book of Proverbs we have God's appeal to the will of man and the conclusion of our subsequent choices. Proverbs is all about the things man should decide, the choices of life. It is through a careful study of these three, Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes that we truly come to understand wisdom and its beauty.
The word "understanding" in today's verse is used only here in the New Testament, and it refers to a specialist who is highly skilled in some area of knowing and doing. The specialist is the one who passes the series of tests for genuine faith in the God of the Bible. When these tests are passed, God gives to the believer His wisdom.
In James 1, we discovered that genuine faith can be seen in how we respond to trials and temptation. Then, in James 2, how we respond to needy people. And then, at the end of James 2, we learned genuine faith is manifested in the righteous works of God in and through our lives. Then, in James 3, genuine faith is revealed through the words we use. How we live our lives reveals whether or not we possess true wisdom. Our relationship with God will be revealed by the extent to which God defines us in a given day.
James ends today's verse with these word: "Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."
Humility is another earmark of the fact that we have acquired God's wisdom. Our God-given ability to understand ourselves, God’s truth, this world, our environment, and God’s revelation comes in response to our willingness to acknowledge our need for God's help. God's wisdom comes packaged to us and is accessed by us through humility. Arrogant people do not access or display God's wisdom.
The word translated "humility" communicates the opposite of self-seeking or self-ambition. In Matthew 11:29 we read, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
True wisdom comes from God. His wisdom makes life meaningful and purposeful. His is the kind of wisdom that is pure and peaceable and gentle and full of mercy and without hypocrisy.
In Proverbs 1:7 we read, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
To fear God is to reverentially trust Him with our lives. Wisdom begins with our respect of God, and then, He enables us to make sense out of life. When we learn to respect God, we will allow Him to define us, and, when we do this, we show that we have acquired His wisdom.
In 1 Corinthians 1:30 we read, "Christ is made unto us wisdom." When we received the Lord Jesus Christ, we received the wisdom of God. Apart from Christ, we can not access the wisdom of God. Wisdom, then, is the manifestation of the Lord Jesus in our lives through a personal relationship with God. His wisdom is manifest in and through us when He takes His truth and applies it to our lives in every dimension.