Christmastime Day Eight
January 2, 2019
By Elaine Friedrich
Written by Betty Hornsby
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:13-18
There is earthly wisdom and then there is the wisdom of God. What sets these two types of wisdom apart? James tells us that earthly wisdom displays mean spirited ambition, boasting, twisting the truth to make ourselves appear to be wise, devilish conniving, and cunning. It brings about disorder; it drives people apart. There is strife and disruption in relationships.
We cannot attain true wisdom, for it is a gift from God. It begins with a holy life. It is pure, cleansed of ulterior motives and obedient to God. It brings people closer to each other and to God. It is justice tempered with mercy, is not rigid or austere and it bears good fruit. True wisdom knows its own mind and abides by it. True wisdom results in right relationships with each other and with God.
The contrast of the two wisdoms can be found in the magi who were astrologers and interpreters of omens. They came from the east solely from seeing a star, which told of the birth of a special king. Worldly wisdom would testify to the foolishness of such a difficult and lengthy trip. They risked their reputation and safety to follow the star. Despite Herod’s wish that they return to tell him where Jesus was to be found, the wise men returned home another way because God spoke to them in a dream warning them against going back to Jerusalem. God had bestowed a desire upon them to seek the real King. As recounted in Matthew 2:11, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him.”
The wisdom of God was not to be found in the King’s palace in Jerusalem but in the small town of Bethlehem. This little child was Himself the wisdom of God. As we approach Epiphany, are you willing to follow the wise men’s example to seek Him even though it might cost you? Are you willing to lay aside the demands of the Christmas season and find Him in worship and praise? Only then will you know the true joy of the coming of our Savior.