Show Your Wisdom Through The Way You Live Your Life
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Paul takes care to show that each of these is part of a progression. They happen in order for a reason – they are the building blocks of love. If at any point we are stuck in a relationship, we should see where we are on this scale to determine if there is something that we are not doing correctly. Of course, there are going to be times when the other person or nation will not respond to love. Even so, we should assure ourselves that we are doing what is right in the eyes of God.
God is holy, and His motives are always pure in nature, as well as other-focused. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, we need to carefully consider our true, deep, inner motives to determine if we are doing what we are doing for the right reasons. Once we establish that we are properly motivated, we can then gauge how we are interacting with our neighbors and our enemies in order to determine if we intentionally or unintentionally causing friction.
Because the ways of God are foolishness to those who reject God, this dichotomy will naturally cause friction, tension, and sometimes even breaks in our relationships with others, including those who are/were closest to us. That is why Jesus said:
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Peace – it is heavenly! We say that, but do we really think about it? Peace allows us to build and strengthen our relationships with one another. We need the blood of Christ to provide us peace with God. It is only through peace that we can really flourish in the endeavors that we set our minds and hands to.
And when we are not at peace, tensions rise between people and between nations. People are then unable to completely devote themselves to what they are doing, as they need to keep one hand on the job, and one on their weapon. And then it is only through the grace of God that we are able to get anything accomplished.
Once we have established that our motives are correct and that we are seeking peace with others, we can then take the time to consider the needs, wants, desires, and motivations of others. We can then be considerate towards them. In showing consideration towards others, it will draw us into tighter relationship.
When driving, do you appreciate it when other drivers show consideration towards you when they are faced with the option of not doing so? Has anyone recently provided you the opportunity to merge into traffic when they didn’t need to? Have they held a door for you when your hands were full of packages or children? Consideration towards others is the extension of the olive branch of peace towards others.
While there are some that will indignantly scoff at a considerate gesture as though they somehow rightly deserved it, most people’s hearts will soften when it is offered in good faith. Some may even thank you. Considering the state of the world today, depending on what era the person grew up, they may also be grateful, or surprised that consideration is being shown today. Be a light in the world…
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
We need to be submitted to God in order fully embrace wisdom. Paul had this to say about submission to one another and to the Holy Spirit:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
It is through submission to others that we are able to wisely interact with them. As we become more wise, we will become more submitted. And as we become more submitted, we will become greater:
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
Moved to Mercy
It is only after we get to this point that mercy, as a life-style, makes sense. The first inclinations of our heart is to seek justice, and for many, vengeance. But God is merciful, and vengeance is His and His alone. Mercy is much easier to give when you have received it yourself. Remember the mercy that God has shown you, and replicate success. To truly gain wisdom, and flourish in relationship, it is necessary to show mercy to others. Mercy is often the tool that God uses to break the hearts of others. Is that not what we want to occur? That the hearts of others would be broken towards sin, and that they would reconcile through the shed blood of Jesus Christ? In this, it truly is good to be the enabler!
Now that we have paved the way, we are ready to bear fruit through our works. Our attitudes towards God and others is correct; we are properly submitted to God and others; we are now showing the fruit of the Spirit. Since we are submitted to God, He can do all that He desires to accomplish through us. As tools in the process, rather than the taking the role of the craftsman, the fruit will be pure and good, untainted by our hands. These are the works that will endure throughout eternity, as they were accomplished by God through us and not our own desires, which bear the taint of our sinful nature.
Since God is not a respecter of persons, we should not be either. This is a further refinement of character and the wisdom of God, which IS His character! When we experience the character of God, we become more like Him, and fulfill what He purposed in us to be – His image-bearers. There is one last thing to consider – are we being truly sincere in what we are doing?
Most people recognize when you are sincere in your dealing with them. And most people desire – secretly or openly – that other people be sincere with them. This breaks down the barriers that are put up when we appear to be acting in a self-serving manner. Sincerity is respected by people. God shows us the greatest of respect in that in everything He is completely sincere. As God’s image bearers, this should affect our interactions with others and with God. Reciprocity of sincerity is expected. When we don’t act in sincerity, our witness is tarnished, and our relationship with God is harmed. When we rely upon God and His goodness and sovereignty, we are able to be sincere in all that we do, say, and think towards others and towards God.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I becoming wise as I participate in God’s character as His image-bearer?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have revealed Yourself to us both through Your Word and Your Son. Teach me the ways of wisdom so that You will be honored and glorified by my thoughts, actions, and speech. Help me to revere You more each and every day, and show me Your wisdom through Your word. Help me to realize the value of wisdom, and to see its value as I participate in Your character. And may You be glorified as I bear Your image properly. Keep me from harm, and strengthen me as I persevere through trials and tribulations. Please prepare me so that I will be the spotless bride, ready for the bridegroom at the appointed time. And Father, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would come, and come soon! Amen.