Living Wisely

So wisdom seems to be a bit of an ongoing theme (which shows the lectionary is not just thrown together, but building blocks).

The description of this picture is, Wisdom, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. “KNOWLEDGE COMES BUT WISDOM LINGERS”.

Whilst, wisdom is defined as,

a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding.

Wisdom is a true understanding, something like I suppose common sense, but with added layers.  It is a depth of knowing what is sensible and right, and acting on it.

James 3:13-4:3,7-8a

Two kinds of wisdom

13 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. 14 But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Submit yourselves to God

4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

[4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

‘God opposes the proud
but shows favour to the humble.’]

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Wisdom is not just something you have.  For wisdom to be purposeful, you have to do something with it – wisdom is seen.  Wisdom should lead to a life of not just knowing the right thing – but doing it.  So it should be seen in good deeds and humble actions.  True wisdom is not boastful, but pure,

peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (3:17)

James then goes on to another way of living wisely.  Of knowing your limits and sticking to them.  How much struggle in the world comes from people wanting what they have not got?  More power, prestige, “things”, status?  We don’t take the time to ask God what we really need, but get caught up in jealousies and power games.  And that is when things get torn apart.

So how to live wisely, to focus on what we really need, to rest in God and his ways?

Let’s draw close to him, hear his voice, and live by that.

Lord,

I want to live in true wisdom,

I want to live for you,

and through you.

May I draw close to you,

draw my strength from you,

and make decisions

from that place

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