Welcome to DAY 16 of our online Bible study on James!
— Read: James 3:17-18 —
Years ago, I was told that bank tellers were taught to study real currency in order to spot counterfeit.
Knowing all the ways you could counterfeit a dollar wasn’t necessary once you were intimately acquainted with the real thing. With authentic currency as their standard, recognizing fake bills was easy for well-trained tellers.
Now, you could probably sneak a fake $20 to me and I wouldn’t know the difference, but if you tried to pass off stainless flatware for sterling – even the really nice stuff – I’d notice in a skinny minute. You see, my mother-in-law didn’t have much in the way of material extras, but she did have a set of sterling silver, her prized possession. She used it every time our family was together (unlike many who save it for . . . never?).
I didn’t register for a silver pattern when we got married (who could afford it?), but we did have nice flatware, the kind given by the place setting or piece. Without even realizing it, I had chosen a design almost identical to my mother-in-law’s sterling. Sometimes I’d borrow her silver for special occasions, and initially, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two patterns. But over time I became so familiar with her beautiful set, I learned to spot the difference. When friends or family members helped me clean up after a meal they’d often mistake one for the other if I needed to use both, but not me.
I knew the real thing.
What in the world does money or silver have to do with James? Nothing! But then again, when I read James’ thoughts on wisdom, those examples come immediately to mind. Because they help me understand the “sloppy second” nature of earthly wisdom contrasted to the beautiful portrait of Godly wisdom painted in James 3:17-18.
James paints a clear picture of godly wisdom, qualities that fully distinguish it from worldly wisdom. Beginning with a lens of purity, Godly wisdom is peaceable, gentle, reasonable, merciful, fruit-bearing, impartial, and sincere.
How can you know if you’re receiving sound counsel from well-intended family or friends? Sift it through the sieve of James’ ancient portrait. If any point doesn’t align with the authentic wisdom characterized by God’s Holy Word, you can bet that less than ideal decisions will be made if you follow it.
As believers, our desire is to know God and make Him known.
One aspect of that is to know and value His word – to live in authenticity, so that others see Jesus when they see us. Do we see a “harvest of righteousness sown in peace” as a result of our actions? If not, let’s pray for God to continue His transforming work in us by helping us understand true wisdom, seeded in Him.
— Diving Deeper —
Do you see a “harvest of righteousness sown in peace”
as a result of your actions?
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