“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17
I’m by nature a curious person. If I see or hear something I’ve never encountered before I want to know about it and if it’s at all interesting I want to know even more. I’ve been this way ever since I was a boy and now that I’ve past the half century mark I find that one of the rewards of being curious and making the effort to satisfy that curiosity is that I know about a lot of different things.
Sometimes kids have been surprised at how often I’ve been able to answer questions they’ve asked. “How do you know about so many different things?” They’d ask. My answer was that if they’d become curious too and love to read they’d learn a lot as well.
But I’ve found that knowledge combined with a sinful nature can make cultivating the wisdom James wrote about in our focus text much more difficult, and I wish my own life didn’t prove the truth of that fact. You see, our sinfulness tends to make us prideful and often stubborn. I’ve also noticed that many times people with knowledge can become impatient with less knowledgeable people because ignorance can really slow a person down when it comes to making decisions and taking action.
Another way know sinfulness can present itself in a knowledgeable person is a tendency to show off. You may not exactly think you’re better than other people but you sure do love the spotlight. This too is evil because it robs others of the chance to contribute in relationships.
God’s wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, good, impartial, and unhypocritical. That means that with a Christian, the more we grow and know the more gentle and patient we ought to become. The more willing we ought to be to let someone else take the lead or persuade us with their point of view. Humble knowledge and wisdom has a very different relational feel when compared with prideful knowledge and wisdom. When a person is humble you never feel like you’re competing or have anything to prove but with a prideful person you almost always feel like you’re gearing up for a competition.
I think this all grows out of our personal relationship with God. He’s so kind and patient and yet he possesses all wisdom and knowledge. He delights in us and the more we’re with him the more we become like him. His wisdom becomes our wisdom. We too become kind, gentle, patient and wise.