A conversation with James, the Lords Brother
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” James 3 :13
Come on James, are you kidding us with this question? No one is going to admit, “I’m not wise!” Maybe, we may say or feel at times stupid, but unwise, no! Well, Guy (or your name, reader) I say to you, my question is serious. Have you read my letter fully? Look at all the unwise behaviors of Christians I needed to correct. The church was scattered abroad, away from Jerusalem and direct contact with the Apostles and Elders. The believers were beginning to handle situations in the old nature and not faithfully in the Spirit. Let me go over a few lessons of the differences between those who are wise and those who are not and lacking understanding.
The first problem I address, is the correct attitude in handling various difficulties and trials. It seems the teaching of Jesus was forgotten.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
The scattered believers were not exhibiting a vibrant faith in their congregational or personal lives amid difficulties, both small and great. Fear, anger, unbelief and sadness became their testimony in the tribulations. Jesus said, “In these trials be of good cheer,” the good cheer which a vibrant faith exhibit. Therefore, I reminded them to be wise, not unwise, by counting “It all joy when you fall into various trials,” James 1:2. How wise are you about this Guy (or your name, reader)?
A second problem of unwise behavior, I addressed, was their bad decision to handle events in their own human wisdom. They forgot Jesus’ paramount teaching of relying on God to give, enable a person to find the solution and open doors of escape or opportunities.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” Matthew 7:7-8.
Therefore, I had to remind them; our Christian walk is a God filled walk, in His wisdom and power. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him,” James 1:5. This is a matter of being wise in faith; they were not. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” James 1:6.How wise are you about this Guy (or your name, reader)?
Here is a grave behavioral mistake the unwise made. They were blaming God for their temptations instead of the sin in their own hearts. They were not living in the new heart but were allowing the old heart to seek out temptations and then sin. They did not live in the new which God created in them.
“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God,” Ezekiel 11:19-21.
So, I wrote them, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.’” James 1 :13-15. Unfortunately, those who confessed the victory of Jesus in their lives, were exhibiting a failed sinful life. Few among them were wise and understanding. How wise are you about this Guy (or your name, reader)?
I was greatly distressed, concerning the failure of the brethren, in their foolishness in not building their Christian house on the Rock, but constructing it on the sand. Once again, the ignoring of the Lord was happening.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall,” Matthew 7:24-27.
I believe you can now understand why I exhorted them to be, “Doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” James 1:22. Furthermore, and more strongly, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” James 2:17.
Are you beginning to get the picture, Guy (or your name, reader)? I really was wondering who was wise and understanding among the scattered churches. Should I wonder about you? How wise are you about this Guy (or your name, reader)?
Let me give you a few more unwise behaviors of the brethren in my day. They were showing partiality among themselves. Instead of understanding, in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:28. They were not behaving like Jesus was in them, loving all. These brethren began social and racial classifying of believers. The congregation was driving a wedge between poor and rich. At the Antioch church, there was racial segregation between Jews and Gentiles whom our brother Paul corrected. We must all remember one important truth about God, which is, “For there is no partiality with God,” Romans 2:11. This prejudiced behavior is very sinful. Therefore, I had to remind them to remember to obey the second command, for not obeying it is sin.
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors,” James 2:8-9.
How wise are you about this Guy (or your name, reader)? Do you show partiality for or against anyone?
Say, James, you really are a little pointed about things! What about the grace of God for us, after all we are not perfect? Guy (or your name, reader), don’t you remember what Paul teaches, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1)
Therefore, Guy (or your name, reader), you are wrong about sinning purposely and relying on God’s grace in accepting your behavior. God wants obedience from His children. Remember these corrective words to the church in Rome. “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Romans 2:1.
Moving on Guy (or your name, reader), I had a very sinful behavior to correct, which I believe in your future time is a big problem, the tongue, or for you, the loudmouth. “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6. Christians were behaving very badly toward one another, and others who are not Christians. With their mouths they, “Bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God,” James 3:9. Yes, blessing God and cursing each other through gossip and malicious backbiting was rampant. Therefore, I said to them, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so,” James 3:10. Why should these things not be so? The first reason, God is not like this. The second reason, it turns off the lost to Christianity. May I say something to you Guy (or your name, reader)? The foul mouth is quite nasty.
Therefore, Guy (or your name, reader), how wise are you with your mouth? Is your mouth a mouth of blessing or a nasty mouth of cursing? Listen to Peter, we are not to return, “Evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9.
Well, you said to me, “What a question this is, ‘Who is wise and understanding among you?’” However, our congregations are acting unwisely! Many have infighting verging on wars. Guy (or your name, reader), how many congregations do you know of which have split due to infighting wars? This is not wise Christ like behavior. In fact, I had a stern reprimand about this worldly behavior. Guy (or your name, reader), please listen to it, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God,” James 4:4.
Guy (or your name, reader), are you listening to why I am asking people if they are wise and understanding? As you can see, the brethren scattered abroad, were behaving sinfully. Who do you think they were obeying? Were they obeying God? Do you think they were yielding to the flesh? Did they obey and submit to the devil? How do we know who you are obeying? Here is how the Spirit will help you to answer the questions.
“Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom,” James 3:13.
Our behavior is the key to understanding who we are obeying. Jesus taught this principle on how to discern who people obey.
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them,” Matthew 7:17-20.
The scattered brethren of my day, who were committing sin, were lying to themselves. I assume this is happening in your generation and maybe with you, Guy (or your name, reader). Well, behaviors of bitterness and envy needed to be addressed. Some have called me, James, very harsh in the way I addressed this. However, the foolish not the wise said this. “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.” Jesus said to “Get the beam out of your eye!” Some Christians do not do this! They think they are spiritual, yet; they are not. “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” I am not harsh when I point out the sins of God’s children. I love the children of God. When a disease infects a person’s body, it affects the whole person. When sin is committed by Christians, the sin infects and affects the entire body! “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (James 3:14-16) This is foolish not wise behavior. If you think there is no consequence for bad Christian behavior, learn from the Corinthians who received a penalty for the wisdom which is earthly, sensual and demonic. They were sinning and not stopping their actions. They took communion unrepentantly.
“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep (DEAD),”1 Corinthians 11:27-30.
Guy (or your name, reader), there is a wisdom which all Christians must be endowed with and bear fruit through it. It is “The wisdom that is from above!” This is the wisdom of God. This wisdom is promised to us if we ask Him for it. Compared to the earthly, sensual, demonic wisdom, which destroys, the wisdom from God, “Is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” If your church is stable and growing it is because you are walking correctly. This is righteousness on your behalf and “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace,” James 3:17-18.
Guy (or your name, reader), do you still think, “What a question!” James, I am repentant for questioning you about asking, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” This conversation has convicted me. I need to follow the advice of Agur in Proverbs 30:32,
“If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.”
James, my hand is on my mouth. I want to thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit and writing this epistle of hope through correction. How about you, reader, are you wise and understanding? Are you walking in the heavenly wisdom or the below wisdom? We all need to examine ourselves about this. Lord Jesus, help us! Amen
© Guy Peter Calandra Author – The Inside Word – Available on Kindle, Nook, Google Playbook
All Quotes From The New King James Version of the Bible