Many people love to give advice. Some of it is just tinsel, but some are pure gold. Good advice saves lives, encourages the weary and launches success. It inspires integrity and challenges us to be godly. It is not always easy to follow, but wisdom is always fruitful. When spoken, a good heart recognizes it and a greater heart follows it. If someone gives you wisdom, do not let it fall to the ground; it is a gift from God; it will change your life. Listen to it carefully, guard it like a precious treasure and follow it with your heart. Stay close to the man or woman of wisdom. “He who walks with the wise grows wise.” Pro. 13:20
Like health, prosperity, authority, a good wife or husband, and life – wisdom is a gift. These gifts come from God and are given even to those who abuse them. Our use of them is a wisdom test. What we do with the likes of prosperity, authority and marriage determines our journey of wisdom. Proper use will cause us to grow in wisdom. Handling them without integrity will cause wisdom to leave us.
The longer we live with these gifts the more we are tested by them. In the course of life, a wise man gains wisdom, but a fool loses it. At the end of his life, he may have financial prosperity and other blessings but have no godly wisdom. His character is undesirable and darkness eats at his heart. He will be like rotten fruit, wrapped in beautiful paper.
If a person follows godly wisdom, the opposite will be true. Whether his outward appearance is luxurious or humble, others will see the amazing fruit inside.
Scripture says, “Who is wise,..? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James. 3: 15
Wisdom is different from knowledge. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts, but wisdom includes godly character. Those who give godly counsel know there is a right time to speak. They encourage character change as they communicate knowledge. They want more than just outward success. A wise person will not only teach you how to make money, but how to love people and build a great family as well. Wisdom leads to contentment and peace. It gives us a love for life and leaves us in awe of God. It brings satisfaction and fulfillment. Wisdom produces love, joy, peace gentleness, goodness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, and self-control. (Gal. 5: 22) Be sure to get wisdom.
After high school, I worked for a season in Toronto, Canada. When it was raining or snowing, the rush hour traffic was enough to challenge anyone’s patience. My father was a great help, he offered to drive me to work when the heavy rains came so I would not have to take the bus. On one rainy day, the drive which usually took half an hour had already taken an hour and our car was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My boss was not a gracious man and I knew I was in danger of being fired. My dad could see my anxiety and gave me some wisdom from above.
He said, “Peter, you are going to be late. You cannot avoid it. That means that you have lost once. If you get upset, you will lose twice.”
That is all he said about my desperate situation, but suddenly it was not so desperate. Those words have stayed with me all of my life and have served me in countless situations when others were in a state of panic. That day, as on many days, my father gave me some wisdom from above.
“The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James. 3: 17
No person is infallible and all advice should be carefully considered, even when it comes from a wise person. Some people are persuasive and very religious but do not give godly counsel. Test the waters. Once you know it is godly wisdom, draw as much as you can. Remember, you are responsible for your own actions. Ask the Lord to teach you how to recognize wisdom. Here are 8 biblical guidelines taken from James 3:17
- Godly wisdom is PURE
It is perfect. It does not have a hook, a guilt manipulation or any blackmail in it. It is clean and does not require servitude. It brings freedom and not bondage or oppression.
2. Godly wisdom is PEACE LOVING
It always searches for peace and reconciliation. A man of peace will even appease a king’s anger. (Pro. 16: 14) When the wicked rise however, war is necessary. Wisdom must sometimes attack evil.
“A wise man attacks the city of the mighty and pulls down the strongholds.” Pro. 21:22
Wisdom makes war a last resort. The righteous will fight cancer, death, and all sorts of evil that threaten our lives, our families or our communities. The ultimate goal of the battle however, is to bring peace by removing the threat.
3. Godly wisdom is CONSIDERATE
It is not selfish. It cares about the feelings and well being of others. Wisdom is helpful, not hurtful.
“The tongue of the wise brings healing.” Pro. 12: 18
4. Godly wisdom is SUBMISSIVE It is not proud, but listens and yields to godly authority and wise counsel.
5. Godly wisdom is FULL OF MERCY
It is not legalistic or harsh. Godly wisdom extends compassion, forgiveness and grace to those who do not deserve it. It covers the failure of others and gives honor and dignity to those who lost it.
6. Godly wisdom is FULL OF GOOD FRUIT
It always produces good results. It is like a good seed, healthy food, and great mentoring; wisdom is always productive. Wisdom brings the increase. Advice that is confining, controlling and small-minded is not godly. With guidelines of righteous living, wisdom is always releasing. It brings a stretch of faith, a challenge to be creative. It leads outside the box to the path of productivity.
7. Godly wisdom is IMPARTIAL
It is for everyone.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James. 1: 5
The next verse following this one, tells us to ask in faith and not doubt. If you ask God for wisdom, you will receive it, no matter who you are.
8. Godly wisdom is SINCERE
It is real and will bring great results to all who receive it. This is no lie, godly wisdom is God’s gift for his children. It is available to all who ask. The more you live in wisdom, the more wisdom you will receive.
“Every good and perfect gift is from… the Father… who does not change.” James. 1:17
All of us should seek godly wisdom from others and discretely give it to whomever we can. Whether we are giving or receiving, let us test it. If it is from God, it will be pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, full of good fruit, impartial and sincere.