November 19 - Virtues of Wisdom

By Alice Northcutt

Today's Scripture: James 3:17

Central Thought: We do not need just any wisdom; we need godly wisdom.

    Thinking of wisdom brings to mind King Solomon, who was known for his great wisdom. But when I examine King Solomon's life more closely, I realize that his wisdom fell short of God's wisdom. King Solomon made some very unwise decisions. As I ponder wisdom as James presents it (3:17), I note a deep spiritual element that cannot be ignored. The first qualification for "wisdom from above" is that it is pure. Without purity, the other attributes of wisdom lose their glamour.

    James defines pure religion that is undefiled before God as: "to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (1:27). Does spiritual purity mean that we look out for the interest of others, especially the less fortunate? Apparently, it means that and more. James refers to both an individual's purity and other actions in 1:27 and 3:17. This leads me to believe that there is an intentional connection between spiritual purity and our attitude and actions toward others.

    The person who lives in spiritual wisdom and purity is admonished to also be "peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" (3:17). This complicates wisdom and requires that we search deep into our hearts to make sure we do not have the negative attributes James mentions in verses 14 through 16 (ch. 3). Not only should we desire wisdom, but we should desire and seek godly wisdom, a wisdom that can come only through partnership with God though Jesus Christ.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to seek Your wisdom rather than the wisdom of man.

Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 39:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2