Archive for April 18th, 2022

Godly Wisdom


Written by Mark D. Roberts, a contemporary pastor, speaker, and seminary professor.

Do you ever feel as if you aren’t quite sure what to do next? It could happen in the context of your work, where you’ve got a tricky personnel issue, a boss who’s overly demanding, or a client whose preferences aren’t obvious. We often feel perplexed about relationships with family and friends. Perhaps you’re wanting to be a good parent to a teenager or a good friend to someone whose hurting, but you’re just not sure how to act. There was a time when, if we found ourselves in situations like these, people would tell us we need wisdom. These days, however, we don’t talk about wisdom nearly as much as we used to. We’re more apt to want to “fix things,” to look for “solutions,” or to look to Google for “the right answer.” We’re less likely to think, “I really need wisdom here.” But wisdom is what we need, now more than ever as the world becomes more complex, more uncertain, and more volatile. We need wisdom at work and at home, in our neighborhoods and churches, and in a world filled with unprecedented and unruly problems. Wisdom isn’t the same as knowledge. Wisdom is judging what’s best or having good sense. It’s knowing how to live well and choosing to do so.

Yes, we do need wisdom, but not just any kind of wisdom. There are versions of wisdom that are neither truthful or helpful. The Letter of James in the New Testament labels such wisdom as “earthly, spiritual, devilish” (James 3:15). James doesn’t mean that all practical wisdom, such as what you get from years of experience in a job, is necessarily wrong. But he does recognize that what the world regards as wise can sometimes lead us astray. In addition to common wisdom that comes from living attentively, we need wisdom of a special sort. James calls it “wisdom from above” (James 3:17). This is, of course, an understated way of saying we need wisdom from God, who dwells in Heaven above. Wisdom from above is godly wisdom, divine wisdom, supernaturally uncommon wisdom. It excels all over other kinds of wisdom because of its source. It comes from the “only wise God” (Rom 16:27). Sometimes we might assume that such wisdom is only relevant to “spiritual things.” It matters only to how we pray, read the Bible, worship, and share our faith with others. But, in fact, wisdom from above touches every part of life. James writes, “Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom” (James 3:13). Wisdom has everything to do with living well in all segments of life, including our work, personal finances, citizenship, and neighborliness.

Now you may already be convinced that God’s wisdom is relevant to all of life. You may regularly seek “wisdom from above” throughout each day. If so, that’s great, though most Christians recognize that they’d like to be more attentive to God’s guidance. Alternatively, you may not seek divine wisdom for the practical, everyday matters at work, home, and beyond. You may see that you need to learn to receive “wisdom from above” for the challenges and opportunities you face each day…As you face the complexities of life, know that you’re not on your own to figure out what’s best. There is “wisdom from above” available to you. In fact, the “only wise God” is able and eager to share divine wisdom with you, to help you live well in every part of life. That is good news, indeed.


Written by Mark D. Roberts, author of today’s meditation.

Gracious God, you are wise beyond anything I can imagine. Your wisdom brought the universe into existence. It stretches across space and time. Nothing hides from your wisdom. Thank you, dear Lord, for being willing to share your wisdom with me. I do need “wisdom from above.” I confess that sometimes I act as if I have all the wisdom I need. But then, Lord, I confront situations that show me the truth. My wisdom is inadequate at best, worldly and sinful, at worst. In these times I realize the truth. I need your wisdom, Lord. I need it each day, in each situation, in each relationship.

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