“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
Wisdom is the art of living life skillfully.
Most philosophers throughout history have believed that if a person could acquire anything, it should be wisdom, because wisdom would allow him to obtain anything else. That philosophy matches Scripture. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” Many people claim to be wise, but it’s also true that no fool in our world is a self-confessed fool—everyone believes he’s an expert. The world offers a sea of opinions, but the bottom line is that no one’s opinion is worth more than anyone else’s.
The only trustworthy perspective on wisdom—on who is wise and who isn’t—is God’s. In James 3:13 He gives His divine insight on the matter by first asking, “Who among you is wise?” The Greek term translated “wise” is sophos. The Greeks used it to refer to speculative knowledge, theory, and philosophy. But the Hebrews infused wisdom with a deeper meaning: skillfully applying knowledge to the matter of practical living.
God also asked, “Who among you is . . . understanding?” The Greek word translated “understanding” is used only here in the New Testament and refers to a specialist or a professional who is highly skilled in applying his knowledge to practical situations. In other words, God is asking, “Who among you has practical skill? Who among you is truly a professional and specialist in the art of living?”
The only one who can live life skillfully is the one who lives according to God’s wisdom, and He gives His wisdom to all who receive His salvation and obey His Word. What about you? Are you living life skillfully? If so, your life will manifest good behavior and a meek spirit (James 3:13). Determine to live your life according to God’s wisdom, not the world’s opinions.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God to help you live life skillfully each day by obeying His Word.
For Further Study
As a Christian, you are responsible to appropriate God’s wisdom in your life on a daily basis. To help you do so, begin a daily reading program in Proverbs. Read one chapter a day, and let God’s wisdom penetrate every aspect of your life.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187