Wisdom for each day:
Monday: wisdom that is first of all pure.
In 3:17-18, James describes that wisdom from heaven has particular characteristics. Everyday we are faced with choices, and discerning what is the right choice can sometimes be difficult but perhaps basing our decisions on these characteristics might be helpful for gaining wisdom. Firstly he describes wisdom as pure. Purity in a biblical context relates to cleansing from sin, selfishness and pride. In order to gain heavenly wisdom the first question to ask ourselves is, is this choice coming from a place of selfishness and pride within me? Or are my intentions pure?
Tuesday: wisdom that is peace-loving.
The opposite of peace is unrest. We can experience unrest in all sorts of ways. Perhaps we have made a decision that does not sit right with us. Perhaps we have acted in ways that have caused turmoil and unrest within relationships. A lack of an experience of peace might suggest that we have acted unwisely in some way. Is there anywhere in my life that I am lacking peace? Is there anything that keeps me awake at night? What would it look like to gain peace in this area of my life?
Wednesday: wisdom that is considerate.
At the heart of being considerate is really that we take time to consider the outcomes and the implications of our choices. We might find ourself incorrectly thinking that the choices that we make will only affect us without taking the time to think through what the implications of these choices will be for our relationship with God and for others in our lives. To be considerate is to consider how this will impact others in my life? What will this choice mean to God, to my spouse, for my children, for my friends, for my community and for myself?
Thursday: Wisdom that is submissive.
We live in a time where the word “submission” is almost a dirty word. But in order to understand the word we need to look to Christ. Jesus submitted himself to the will of the father. In his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed one of the most profound prayers, three times…He asked that the burden of death would be lifted from his shoulders and yet he continued his prayer with “yet not my will but yours be done.” Here is submission. Jesus didn’t ignore his desire for his burden to be lifted, in fact He asked God to take it from him. Yet in the very same breath he submitted himself to the Father’s will trusting that the Father would do what is right. Is there an area of your life where you are struggling to submit? What would it look like for you to foster a heart of submission?
Friday: Wisdom that is full of mercy and good fruit.
There are two definitions of mercy. One is to show kindness, compassion or forgiveness to those to whom it is within our power to harm or punish. The second is somewhat connected; it is to alleviate someone’s suffering or pain. James writes that wise choices are those that have the intention of bringing restoration to another. It is the central point of the gospel. The question then is how can we, with God’s help bring forgiveness and reconciliation into other peoples lives? What would it look like to be kind to someone who doesn’t necessarily deserve our kindness?
Saturday: Wisdom that is impartial and sincere.
Throughout the old testament we catch glimpses of moments where favoritism caused turmoil within families. For example we think of Joseph and his colourful coat that bred jealousy amongst his brothers. James picks up on favoritism in James 2 where he highlights those who show favoritism to those more wealthy. But wisdom is impartial and sincere – it does not judge nor discount people based on status or wealth. Where might God be calling you to be more impartial?