July 17, 2023
Very often today people confuse the concept of wisdom with cunning. How should wisdom be expressed in our daily walk? For example, there is a great temptation to treat a rich or famous person in a more special manner than others. In another case, whether it is filling out applications for welfare or benefits or a job application, or filing a tax return, you are advised to cheat and tell lies in order to obtain more or sell yourself by exaggerating things. When one refuses to do so, people say that it’s not cheating, exaggeration, or cunning, they call it wisdom. However, how does the Lord see it?
The Apostle Paul, defending his sincere intentions towards the Corinthian church, writes: “For our rejoicing is this: The testimony of our conscience is that we conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you, in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:12). When read in context, one comes to the conclusion that Paul did not act cunningly to assert his authority. He did not say one thing when he meant another, as is often the case today. On the contrary, he calls this approach fleshly wisdom.
The Apostle James writes about another quality of sincerity towards people: “My brothers, have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, without partiality. For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your assembly, and also a poor man in ragged clothing comes in, and you have respect for him who wears the fine clothing and say to him, “Sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor, “Stand there,” or “Sit here under my footstool,” have you not then become partial among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers. Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him? But you have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you and drag you before the judgment seats? Do they not blaspheme that worthy name by which you are called? If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as sinners.” (James 2:1-9).
Dear friends, what does it look like in your life? Are you hospitable to everyone, regardless of economic status or position? Has it not been the love for money and power that has corrupted contemporary churches? Haven’t we learned from the pages of the history of Christianity based on the example of the Catholic Church, when the patriarchy was first established, and then the papal power, gradually bending the secular power under itself, and then selling the forgiveness of sins, issuing a special document known as an indulgence? Can it really be the result of wisdom from above? What fruits has such “wisdom” brought and is bringing?
Let’s look at how James defines the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit indwelling a true believer: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17). Here I would like to draw your attention to the last two qualities – without partiality and without hypocrisy. Partiality means that there is no preference for one person over the other or favoritism. As a teacher, I always remind myself of this. A non-hypocritical attitude implies sincerity and simplicity. Let’s look into the depths of our hearts and ask the Lord to enlighten them with His all-pervading light, from which nothing is hidden, so that our thoughts and attitudes are in harmony. A kind heart, even towards enemies, is precious in the eyes of God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5).
Teach us, O Lord, to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Max Volkov in Christ