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.
Well! That’s a pretty high standard! If this were applied to the awarding of doctorate degrees, I don’t think there would be very many given out. However, that’s the whole point: an academic degree is for knowledge, but this is talking about wisdom. Also, we need to notice that this is specifically about wisdom “from above.” This kind of wisdom isn’t achieved, it’s received. True wisdom is humble, because it knows that it doesn’t know. Much damage is done by people who think, or at least insist, that they know much more than they do. It’s not at all that we can’t know things; God in His grace has given us inquiring minds and the ability to learn. However, when knowledge is not paired with wisdom, all hell breaks loose, sometimes literally. After all, Eve was tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the perennial test and temptation of the scientist. Each major breakthrough has presented possibilities for good and for evil, and many have lacked the wisdom called for. In the 20th Century the big issue was atomic energy, and at present the fields of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence come to mind. If every scientist, not to mention people in every other field, sought and received wisdom from God, the world would be a better place indeed.
I come from a very academic background. My father and both grandfathers all had doctorates, and their wives were college graduates. I have past and present university professors all over my family tree. That puts me in a good position to observe the difference between knowledge and wisdom, because some of those people have been very foolish! All that aside, the issue for me is choosing wisdom consistently. I love to learn, to acquire knowledge, but I see that there are some things it’s better not to know. I need wisdom from God to direct me into the right paths of knowledge, particularly in this information age where so much is available through the Internet. I also need His wisdom to discern when the information that is presented is wrong, because there’s a lot of that going on. Like Paul, I need to make knowing Christ my highest priority. (Philippians 3:10) I really like the Youth With A Mission motto: “To know Christ and make Him known.” I even borrowed that as part of our church Vision Statement. If that is the focus of my knowledge, then I will receive the wisdom I need as well.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I need this sort of thing pretty regularly! Help me indeed operate in Your wisdom and not think that I have any of my own worth having, so that I will do Your will in Your way, producing Your results for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!