From Words to Action
Some people are known for being 'all mouth'. They talk big but cannot deliver. There may be nothing wrong with their ideas, but they are unable to complete what they start or produce what they promise. It is one thing to make a good impression at the job interview, but the applicant has to be able to do the job. Some Christians are a bit like that: lots of noise in church or on councils, but when it comes to their lifestyle, you would have difficulty to know that they believe in Jesus.
James sets a self-test for those who think that they are wise - can you do what you are talking about? When the Christian's life does not match their talk, something is wrong - either they are pretending to have a relationship with Jesus when they do not, or they have never learned how to discipline themselves so that they conform to the life of Christ. Wisdom does not come with age, intelligence or being 'street-wise'; it comes with understanding the importance of God being right and learning how to apply that truth practically, each day.
James does not under-rate wisdom or despise knowledge or understanding. They are all important; but they need to be godly and not worldly. Boasting is a worldly trait, along with lusting and craving (1 John 2:16); so, boasting about being wise reveals lack of godly wisdom. But wise actions done in humility need no advertisement.
The first mark of wisdom is the humility to accept that we cannot be right without God telling us what is right, and helping us to do it. Pride will inevitably lead to foolish choices, but wise people are humble. Humble people do not boast about what they can do or think, they are content to quietly get on with each day's work as it comes and rely on the Lord's help to make the right decisions at the right time. People like that are also real assets to any industry or profession. However lowly their job, they will be willing to do it well for Jesus' sake (Ephesians 6:5-8), and however high their job they will always look to the Lord for His direction (1 Chronicles 16:11). Would your colleagues at work say that you are like that? If not, this prayer may be the first step to get back into line with God's wisdom.
© Dr Paul Adams