"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in meekness of wisdom."
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."Interesting how the writer tethers wisdom to good conduct and works. Such wisdom is characterized by purity, a peaceful bearing, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, impartiality and sincerity. It produces good fruits in abundance and a harvest of righteousness is the yield because wisdom makes peace.
So wisdom is not merely intellectual acuity or prowess. Being smart or an analytical thinker may or may not produce wisdom. Wisdom as characterized here has little commerce with pride. Winning the argument or demonstrating superiority is the antithesis of this wisdom. It does not puff up or seek to humiliate others. Rather it seeks produce a life characterized by true understanding which leads to righteousness and good fruits.
Wisdom doesn't pursue contention and strife for their own sakes. Riling up people is not its greatest pleasure. True wisdom seeks to be peaceable because it is impartial and open to reason, sound judgment, playing fair and be willing to listen in earnest and humility. Wisdom desires truth which frees people and demonstrates the greatness of God. It listens with respect, then explains with care and diligence, seeking to be understood even if not agreed with. It does not force its way for the sake of being right. It wants conversations which build bridges and tear down division or emnity.
Biblical wisdom always reflects the heart and mind of God. It signifies his nature and ways, summoning people to truth and a life of love. Impartiality, gentleness and mercy characterize the way of godly wisdom. Good conduct can result as we yield to the wisdom God invites us to. He trains us in this way as we struggle to surrender our hearts and learn to follow him.
In this way, orthodoxy does lead to orthopraxy: right thinking (humbly reflecting unto wisdom) does produce right practice (living unto God and reflecting his nature to the world). Ultimately, I think, our understanding then should produce servant hearts in us. We yield to wisdom; we do not manufacture it.
But I wonder how hungry we are for God's wisdom? Are we desperate enough for the understanding which sows a harvest of righteousness in peace. Or do we tire of the struggle to be "good?" And how many of us see true wisdom as largely unattainable, the enterprise of scholars, teachers, pastors and "really smart people?"
Nevertheless, may you yield this moment to God's call to live from a place of such goodness that increasingly good conduct shows your works in "meekness of wisdom." I know only grace can accomplish this in you and me, but pray that such "meekness of wisdom" would more and more reflect your life.