Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13
Do you think of yourself as a wise person? James asks the question of his readers. There would have been a contrast, at the time James wrote this letter, between the way the Greeks and Romans thought of wisdom and the way that the Jews thought of wisdom. Proverbs 1-9 allows us to see how the ancient Jew would have viewed wisdom. Read those chapters today. To the Jew wisdom was much more than good advice or success in thinking and planning. To them wisdom was “being skillful and successful in one’s relationships and responsibilities… observing and following the Creator’s principles of order in the moral universe” (Roy Zuck). It was how James viewed it. Wisdom produces actions. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). To gain wisdom is to respect and be in awe of the source of wisdom. Wisdom is gained by having a right relationship with the Lord, one that recognizes him as God—the Creator and the Sovereign over all things. He has, as Creator, placed within his creation an order that must be recognized and obeyed. He has established a moral law and a principle of divine justice. The wise person acts according to God’s decree and design, and his works show it in the meekness of wisdom. The wise person quietly lives a righteous life in service of God. So, are you a wise person?