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The Dynamics of Godly Wisdom

James 3:17-18
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. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (NIVUK)

Worldly wisdom seems to be a cross between common sense and the past experience of success; however it is steeped in self-interest. It provides a way of using knowledge for self-gain rather than service. It has no eternal value. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 says, "Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become 'fools' so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight."

God's wisdom is very different. Because it comes from His heart, it radiates His characteristics - the first of which is purity. Although human nature is full of mixed motives, Jesus was consistently set on doing His Father's will. Although He spent time with the immoral social outcasts, there was no hint of pollution that stained His character. God wants Christians to desire to be like Jesus - and work it out in practice. James gives us a catalogue of qualities to be found in Godly wisdom. It is both a check-list so that we can monitor our spiritual progress, and also a schedule for further spiritual development. God's wisdom brings a cascade of righteousness: godly purity of heart, desires peace and not antagonism; that establishes a life-pattern of considering others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) being willing to submit to them (Ephesians 5:21). When they do wrong we are merciful (Luke 6:36) and allow the Holy Spirit to mould us into God's character (Galatians 5:22-23), loving all without partiality (James 2:1).

Sharp business practice often pretends that the spectrum of assertiveness to aggression is the way to fulfilment. The 'couldn't care less' attitude of pride with revenge is often considered 'normal'. Some may feign a desire of peace after having bullied others to get their own way: that is not peace-loving, it is manipulation with devilish paw prints (James 3:14-16). Instead, Jesus says that those who gladly submit to the needs of others are happy (Matthew 5:3-12). Peace-makers share God's family characteristics (Matthew 5:9). Godly peacemakers show their desire for peace in their sacrificial submission of their rights to God's will. It is not natural to our sinful nature, but as we follow Jesus He trains us in a new way of life; and God uses that to raise a harvest of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).

Today's workplace desperately needs men and women of integrity, from the boardroom to the shop floor. So do the professions and the self-employed. At a time when so many business models have been proved to be flawed, and many managers are unable to predict the effects of their actions, there is a new expectation that Christians will know how to do the right thing. If we look to the Lord for His wisdom and strength, we will shine through in a way that may surprise us; but we will provide the relieving lead which our confused colleagues may be longing for.

God of purity and love. Thank You that Jesus lived a pure and selfless life in a confused world. Forgive me for failing to recognise the futility of worldly wisdom. I need Your wisdom and the grace to submit to what You say. Then I will need the courage to do what is right, even if it means sacrificial change for me. May my actions at work demonstrate that I really do want to be holy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams