James 3, Verses 13 thru 18
Listen to James 3, verse 13, from the New American Standard version; “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show, by his good behavior, his deeds, in the gentleness of wisdom.” Most versions use the word “works” instead of “deeds”, and I think that fits better in this verse. But I also think that the wording should be changed a little also. This verse is very difficult, in the original text, to determine, what the best wording is. Here’s what I think sounds the most fluid, as far as the way we speak; “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him, in the gentleness of wisdom, show his works, by his good behavior.”
In other words; If you are indeed wise, and have understanding, then in the gentleness of your wisdom, show your works to BE gentle and wise, through your good behavior.
This verse reminds me of what James said in chapter 2, and verse 18; “..I will show you my faith, by my works.” Well, in this verse, James is saying; “Show me your wisdom, and your understanding, by your works.” By the works of good behavior.”
James 3, verse 14 says; “But if you have bitter jealousy, and faction in your heart, glory NOT, and lie not, against the truth.” That’s not very wise, to glory, in your bitterness, and in your jealousy, and in your factions. So don’t glory in that kind of behavior. And.. “lie NOT against the truth”.
To “glory” in that kind of behavior, is to be proud of it, and to boast about it. And to do that, is to “lie against the truth”? What does it mean, to “lie against the truth”? Well, any lie, is “against” the truth, isn’t it? A lie is in “opposition” to the truth, it’s against it! It’s kind of like Jesus said, in Mathew 12, verse 30; “He who is not with Me, is against Me.”
That word “against” actually has reference to going from a higher plane, to a lower plane. Here’s the truth, way up here, and here’s a lie, way down here. Don’t lie, and be way down here, morally, in comparison to telling the truth, which is way up here, morally.
Verse 15 says; “This is NOT, the wisdom coming down from above; But is earthly, sensuous, (it’s like an animal instinct) and devilish.” One version says, “demonic”.
This bitterness, this jealousy, this factious attitude, this lying against the truth, it’s purely of this world. John wrote, in 1 John 2:16; “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” It’s on a whole different level, than that of God.
I like the way the different writers of the bible, always compliment one another, and agree with one another; And of course that’s because all their words come from that one source, from God; Up on that “higher level”, way up there.
Verse 16; “For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion, and every vile deed.” Do you see why we’re all supposed to be humble, and forgiving, and loving, and peaceable, and always looking out for the good of others, and always putting others ahead of ourselves? And do you see why we’re supposed to be united, together, in agreement, with God, and with one another?
Verse 17; “But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, (that means.. compliant, and obedient) full of mercy and of good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.” Let me take you back to what James wrote in Chapter 1, verse 17; “Every good act of giving, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (“lights”, is equated here with goodness. And of course light is equated with truth) And so.. “Every good act given, or every good thing given, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down form the Father of goodness and truth, with whom there is no variance, neither shadow, of turning.” In other words, there is absolutely no fluctuation, in the goodness that comes down from above; From God the Father.
And in Chapter 3, verse 17, the scripture says that neither is there any variance, in the wisdom of God, which comes down from above. All of the wisdom from above is pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and full of mercy, with no variance at all; And all gifts given from above, are good, and perfect, and are with no variance at all. The goodness, and the wisdom of God, never changes.
Verse 18; “And the fruit of righteousness, is sown in peace, for them that make peace.”
Remember what Jesus said, in the sermon on the mount? In Mathew 5, verses 3 thru 11; “Blessed are the humble in spirit.. Blessed are they that mourn.. Blessed are the meek (that means gentle).. Blessed are they that hunger after righteousness.. (righteousness, is doing God’s will).. Blessed are the merciful.. Blessed are the pure in heart.. Blessed are the peacemakers.. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake..” (persecuted, for doing God’s will)
Remember the verse that we started with? James 3, verse 13.. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him, in the gentleness of wisdom, show his works, by his good behavior.” In other words, show your wisdom, by your obedience, to the wisdom, that is from above.