Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 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.
If asked, he would have said that he certainly believed himself to be a wise man. The truth, however, was that he was more of a con artist. Shrewd in both business and personal relationships, he took his savvy to a whole new level. What started out as wise dealings somehow morphed into competition breeding deception. Every interaction he had with a person became a contest for him, and he always had to win. He was not so much focused on being wise but on coming out ahead and never feeling like he had lost. His shrewdness had become selfishness and egotism, and the wisdom he practiced was more a matter of self-preservation at the cost of everyone else.
When God’s wisdom is at work within us, we cease to be the ones who need to be on top and come in first place. The world’s wisdom will tell a man that he must be focused on himself. God’s wisdom will tell that same man to be focused on his fellow men. While the world’s wisdom looks inwardly, God’s wisdom looks outwardly. Those who are truly wise will understand that the attitude and perspective of selflessness are what bring a good and righteous result. This is wisdom that is peaceable and willing to yield. It takes us from seeing life as a competition to seeing life as a cooperative venture. It removes from us the world’s moral confusion and gives us clarity.
Wisdom is another attribute which produces clear and obvious fruit as we allow it to work within us. It is a catalyst for right living. Those who live by the world’s version of wisdom have depravity and deception as their foundations. The world tells us to take what we can while we can lest another would take it from us. God’s wisdom tells us that we already have everything in Christ, so our decisions need not be based on scarcity or the fear of being in want. God’s wisdom working within us really just produces a life lived according to the truth of God’s peace and provision. Father, thank You for a wisdom that clarifies our vision and sets us on a solid and holy foundation from which to grow.