“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13 NIV).
Have you noticed how common sense isn’t so common? A lot of smart people are not too wise. They may be educated, but they don’t have wisdom. They may have all kinds of degrees, but they’re a washout with relationships.
James 3:13 says that wisdom is a lifestyle: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (NIV).
Wisdom has nothing to do with your intelligence. It has everything to do with your relationships and your character. It’s not a matter of what you say with your lips but what you live with your life—not a matter of your words but of your works and not so much your diplomas but your disposition.
How can you know if you’re wise in the ways you relate to people? The Bible lists the characteristics of wise people in James 3:17: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (NIV).
“Pure” means uncorrupted and authentic. In 1 John 3:3 this word is used to refer to Christ’s character. It means you have integrity. If you’re wise, you’re not going to lie to others, cheat them, manipulate them, or be deceitful.
All relationships are built on trust and respect. If you’re not honest, who’s going to trust you? Who’s going to respect you? You must have integrity in your life.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9 NIV). They’re not afraid of being found out because they don’t say one thing to one group and another thing to another group. Someone said, “No one has a good enough memory to be a habitual liar.” Eventually that person is going to slip up. But if you’ve got integrity, you can walk securely and confidently in your relationships because you know you’re not putting people on.
Wise people do not compromise their integrity, because they know that having integrity is the only way to maintain healthy relationships.
Talk About It
- Do you consider yourself a wise person? Why or why not?
- What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
- Why is it important to have integrity in the small ways you relate to people and not just in your closest relationships?