Wisdom And Weakness: Some (Very Brief) Reflections On James 3

Silly Glasses by Ann Scranton

Silly Glasses by Ann Scranton

As a child I couldn’t wait to wear glasses. All the clever people I knew wore glasses and I figured glasses = wisdom. Now I’m a stubborn adult who can barely read road signs without squinting my eyes to roughly the size of raisins, and I think differently. Glasses = weakness. Once I start wearing them I’ll be bespectacled for life!

It’s so easy to have messed up criteria for judging between weakness and virtue.

The Ancient Greeks spoke about meekness or gentleness as a negative thing; a sign of weakness. Yet Jesus was meek (Matthew 11:29) and praised meekness (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which we are encouraged to ‘put on’ (Colossians 3:12-17). James even calls it a sign of wisdom (James 3:13).

True wisdom is not measured by intellectual prowess (or the need for eye-wear!) but by something that many would consider a flaw. Meekness. Gentleness.

It’s too easy to pursue the kind of ‘wisdom’ that looks more like James 3:14-16 and less like verses 17-18. Are you teachable, or do you just like to ‘teach’ others? (If the latter, check out James 3:1-12!) Are you open to reason, or do you think your reason trumps that of others? Do you seek wisdom for personal ambition, or to make peace and bring order?

True wisdom is measured by the degree to which you are allowing God to shape you. So, are you asking God to make you teachable and give you wisdom? It’s a prayer He is keen to answer (James 1:5).

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