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July 26, 1994

The Wise and Otherwise (Part One)

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Who is wise and understanding among you? JAMES 3:13
What is wisdom? Is it the ability to think on your feet, answer clever riddles, and handle hard questions? Is it being street-smart? Is it being able to read people easily? Is it raw intelligence or academic book knowledge? Is it the ability to roll Mark Twain like proverbs off the tip of your tongue?
The answer, according to Scripture, is none of the above. In God’s view, wisdom is relational. It’s about relationships, not about intelligence.
James explains that wisdom can be either authentic or counterfeit. Like so many other godly traits, there is a counterfeit that often appears alongside the genuine article. The counterfeit of faith is presumption. The counterfeit of humility is false humility and self-deprecation. The counterfeit of confidence is self-driven pride. And the counterfeit of wisdom is envy and selfish ambition.
Read what James has to say about that: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 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” (James 3:14-17).
Examine your heart. Does the wisdom you possess come from heaven, or is it counterfeit?

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