Evidence of Transformation

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 3:13-18

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (v. 17)

At the beginning of his letter, James urged his readers to ask God for wisdom. In this section he clarifies the differences between wisdom from above and what James calls “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” wisdom (v. 15). So what is this wisdom that isn’t wisdom? Similar to life in the Roman Empire when James was writing, today we see this earthly “wisdom” demonstrated in unscrupulous business practices, religious hostility, widespread violence, an economic divide, the rise of celebrity culture, and drug cartels. What the world sees as success is not what God considers success.

In verse 17, James lists characteristics of godly wisdom. When Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:2-11), he listed similar characteristics describing those whom God considers blessed: the pure in heart, the gentle or humble, the merciful, and the peacemakers. Paul also wrote a similar list when he described the fruit of the Spirit as goodness, peace, gentleness, kindness, etc. (see Gal. 5:22-23). All of these are characteristics of someone who possesses godly wisdom, someone who displays the fruit of the Spirit.

If these characteristics are displayed in our lives, they are evidence that we have been transformed by Christ, so attaining this wisdom should be our goal. And James reminds us that all we have to do is ask (James 1:5).

—Susan Hetrick

Gracious God, let my life show evidence of wisdom.