Chapter 3

Roy Osborne
April 2014


Of all the practical advice James has in this most helpful book, none is more valuable than his brief discourse here in chapter 3.  The subject is “wisdom”, and is badly needed by all of us.  There are a great many people who are very smart but sadly lacking in wisdom.

James says there are two kinds of wisdom.  However, the truth is that one is a false wisdom and the other is the only real wisdom.  The difference can be seen in the kind of life the person leads.  If the person leads a life of goodness and humble kindness, then he has the good kind.  If he does not, then his professed wisdom is false.

If you are envious and competitive of others, and tend to boast about how much better you are than the ones you envy, even if your boast is true, that is poor wisdom.  I have known people who were very talented and capable, but instead of letting others recognize it and offer congratulations and applause, they bored everyone by telling them how good they were, until their talent was overshadowed by their ego.  Poor wisdom!  Their selfish ambition and envy completely covered their ability and their talent.

James gives a wonderful list of ways in which “good” wisdom shows itself.  First of all it is “pure”.  There is no evil motivation like selfishness, nor any false pretense.  Then, he says it is peace-loving.  It never sets up competition and conflict.  Next, and this one is very important, it is considerate.  If every person was considerate of the feelings and needs of others, what a beautiful world this would be.  Lack of consideration is the root of most of the pain in the relationships between people.  Man’s inhumanity to man is one of the greatest curses of our world.  The wise man considers the feelings of others instead of always concentrating on the “me” principle.

James says true wisdom is submissive.  This means one gives room for the opinions and desires, as well as the “center stage”, to others.  He does not always wish to be in the “spot-light”.  Such a one is “full of mercy”, and that is what the Lord demands of us if we expect to find mercy before His throne of judgement. The last characteristics are “impartial and sincere”.  If you do not bow to those you consider important, more than others, and you genuinely believe in the things you profess and the things you do, then you are a person of true faith, and that is real wisdom.

May God give us the strength, and the deep desire, to incorporate all of these things in our life.  It will be a happier life, and the world will be a better place because we are here.