Wisdom from Above….
St. James describes the qualities of wisdom from above:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. -James 3:17, NAB
Yesterday’s verse, James 3:14-16, spoke of the wisdom that comes from jealousy and our own self ambition. We quickly learned how it can lead us in the wrong direction. In contrast, today’s verse looks at the wisdom from above and the good qualities that come with it.
When we seek wisdom from above – wisdom that comes pouring out through the Holy Spirit – we are impacted in positive ways. St. James tells us that it is pure, peaceful, gentle, merciful, constant, and sincere. These are qualities that lead us to a life after Christ.
While earthly wisdom embraces our selfish ambitions (and the sin that comes along with it), heavenly wisdom helps us to unite our life with our loving Creator. In theory, this sounds great, but how can we recognize the difference?
Our focus, our internal purpose, shows the roots of our wisdom.
Wisdom based on selfish ambition is focused on what we gain. Wisdom from above focuses on what we give and the impact we can have on the world around us. It is externally focused. It puts the needs of others and the will of God before our own.
Wisdom from above teaches us that a life modeled after Christ, a life based on the teachings of our Sacred Scripture, is not meant as a restriction on our lives, but as a way to be truly free. The wisdom of the Holy Spirit can transform us. We simply need to open our hearts and minds to let it happen.