“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
Wisdom and peace. That’s a little different from “War and Peace,” isn’t it? We don’t typically associate wisdom directly with peace, but James connects the two. This wisdom is not man’s stereotype of wisdom. We tend to think of wisdom as knowledge, intelligence, and subjective discernment about what is best. We seem to put it in the realm of the philosophical. We also apparently associate with age, thinking that the very young don’t have much of it, while those with grey or white hair have a good bit of it.
James is talking about “the wisdom from above.” This is God’s wisdom. He describes it as being first of all pure. A bar of “pure gold” means it has no other elements or impurities in it. It is just gold. Wisdom that is pure is just wisdom through and through. It is pure in its essence, and it is pure in its motives, or its purpose.
This wisdom is also thoroughly related to peace. The rest of the descriptions James gives all point to the idea of peace. So, wisdom that comes from God is peaceful and begets peace. This means that God’s kind of wisdom deals more with relationships than philosophies. It produces a right life that is made right by right relationships first with God and then with others.
Lord, We seek Your wisdom and Your peace. May our lives be filled with both. Amen.