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 Wisdom Contrasted: Part 8 - James 3:17c

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LaRosa
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PostSubject: Wisdom Contrasted: Part 8 - James 3:17c   Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:06 am

Wisdom Contrasted: Part 8 - James 3:17c
Written by LaRosa Johnson
Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Today we're going to conclude our look at James 3:17 and the attributes that comprise heavenly wisdom. We've already taken a look at its motive and the first five of these seven characteristics; our study today is going to continue with the final two and then tie it all together with a very common thread, which I've had you pondering on over the past few studies now. As such is our custom, let us first begin this study by opening up the Word of God to our passage and read what it has to say.

Quote :
James 3:17c (NASB) - ...unwavering, without hypocrisy.

If we begin by first taking a look back at the first five characteristics of heavenly wisdom, we will notice that all of this are positive in nature, being peaceable, gentle, and so on. In contrast, our last two characteristics look at things from a different light; that is not to say that these aren't positive as well, but they are brought to light by negating a negative action. Instead of being "wavering" in our mannerisms, we are to be "unwavering;" and instead of living a life of "hypocrisy," we are to be "without hypocrisy." When you look at these two terms in the English, it looks like they are fairly synonymous words, and in a way they are, but they also carry pretty distinct understandings, which we will now take a look at.

Starting with "unwavering," we will first state that this is the only place where you will find this word in the New Testament canon of Scripture. It is the Greek word adiakritos (Strong's #G87) and carries with it a definition of being "indistinguishable, or without uncertainty." The King James Version translates this word as "without partiality." Partiality is a word that we should be very familiar with because this is a subject that James spoke on at length in James 2:1-13 where he spoke of being impartial towards others. As we saw in our study on favoritism, the root of this came, again, from selfish motives (worldly wisdom) and it is not something that should be characterized of a believer. Instead, we are to show the same kind of treatment towards everyone, whether we think we have something to gain from them or not; we should treat both the poor and the rich in the same way. As we remember the words from our study on favoritism, we can clearly get a picture as for why it takes heavenly wisdom to be impartial towards others; whereas it only takes a worldly wisdom to play favorites. Therefore, for us to be unwavering, means that we are steadfast in our ways and not swaying to the left or right. This kind of thinking was first given to us in James 1:8 where we are told that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. But, as we see in a few verses prior in James 1:5, that a true believer seeks the Lord for wisdom, and thus is not found to be wavering in his wisdom or faith.

The final attribute that we have for heavenly wisdom is that it is "without hypocrisy." I think we all know what it means to be a hypocrite, right? If not, a simple definition would be a person who says one thing but then does another; for example, this would be the parent who says to their children to "do as I say, not as I do." A hypocrite is a person who is not willing to live up to their word. Lord forbid that this would be the characterization of a child of God! This word, anypokritos (Strong's #505) is only used a total of six times in the New Testament and is translated as "without hypocrisy" twice in the New American Standard Bible. The other times it is used, it is either translated as "genuine" (1x) or "sincere" (3x), which in essence carry the same meaning. When you think of a person who is not a hypocrite, you think of a person who is genuine and sincere because they keep their word and practice what they preach, per se. This isn't the kind of person who is going to tell you not to do something and then turn around and do it themselves, or say that they need to do this or that and end up not doing it. This hypocritical person is also the same kind of person who does not have a pure religion (James 1:27) and does not help the needy but wishes them well (James 2:15-16). Instead, the believer is supposed to be upright and righteous in his ways, living a life that is free from hypocrisy; which is to say that others should not be able to talk bad about us because our actions will line up with the words that come from our mouths.

So, now that we have made it through all seven of our characteristics for heavenly wisdom, what is the common thread that we can see elsewhere in Scripture? The common thread comes in the words of Jesus, and it is a very familiar passage of Scripture for most believers; the passage is taken from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount where He is giving the beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. If you look at what Jesus says here, many of these statements line up perfectly with the characteristics that are to be had of believers who are walking in heavenly wisdom. For example, in Matthew 5:7 we see that blessed are those who are merciful towards others, which speaks of being "full of mercy" (James 3:17). What about Matthew 5:8-9? We are to be "peaceable" and "pure," just as those are blessed who exhibit such behavior. There are many correlations in this passage concerning heavenly wisdom and its tie-in with the beatitudes that we find in Matthew 5; I don't think it strange that it was Jesus' brother who the Spirit would allow to make such a connection between the blessed statements and how they are characteristic of those who have heavenly wisdom.

In closing, I admonish you to take time to look back over the past few devotions on heavenly wisdom and then go over to Matthew 5 and look at each one and see how they are characteristic of someone who possesses heavenly wisdom. This godly wisdom is only capable of coming from above, and it is a true statement that happy are those who are able to live out the beatitudes, which is what "blessed" means. As God's children, if we are able to walk in heavenly wisdom, we will truly be happy and living the kind of life that is a blessing to those around us; so, let us remember that our call is holiness and that we are here to show Christ's love to others. In our next study, we will close out this segment on heavenly wisdom versus earthly wisdom, and we will be well equipped to move into James 4. Until then, walk in heavenly wisdom and live happily.

devotion courtesy of Trailblazin Ministries
http://www.trailblazinministries.com/daily-devotions/04-15-2008.php

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Wisdom Contrasted: Part 8 - James 3:17c
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