Two Kinds of Wisdom by Rebecca Dotson
In a meeting, do you ever find yourself answering a question or discussing a topic in a way that leaks selfish ambition? Do you every find yourself in a state of “disorder”? Or maybe, you are having a conversation with your spouse and a dose of selfishness kicks in when you want your own way?
I came across a Scripture in James about “two kinds of wisdom” that I find extremely powerful and is a great framework for speaking about the topic.
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. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18, NIV)
I would love to be in a place where I could boldly proclaim that the wisdom I impart on those around me always comes from heaven and that it is dripping with peace, love, consideration and mercy. That, however, is not my current reality. The Lord has been burdening my heart to share wisdom outside of selfish ambition and a boastful heart.
Because the “wisdom that does not come down from heaven” isn’t where I desire for my words to lie, I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time here.
Reading about the “wisdom that comes from heaven” is like a breath of fresh air. The more I read it over and over again, it began connecting to a friend and mentor I have in my life who embodies these qualities with such grace. She’s a wife, mom, daughter, employee and light to every single life she touches here on earth. When I read words like impartial, sincere and considerate, I’m reminded of an 11 mile run when I asked her advice on something and she gently shared with me words of grace and sincerity. Or when I had a tough decision to make and she guided me in the right direction. Or even when I sat down and told her what the Lord was doing in my heart and that I wanted to launch a ministry to impact patients facing serious illnesses.
Our conversation is filled with wisdom and lacking selfish ambition, always embodying the characteristics of the “wisdom from heaven”.
I’m thankful to have several people who impart heavenly wisdom into my life but I also long to be that type of person myself. It is convicting to step back and read these “heavenly” qualities and stir on which ones the Lord would have me work on.
Full of mercy.
It says in verse 18, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” My prayer is that my words would reap a harvest of righteousness in the hearts and lives of the people I am surrounded by.
My encouragement to you today is to take these words, write them on a card and place them somewhere very visible. A mirror. A dashboard. In your wallet. Highlight the quality that you would like to work on this week and be intentional in your conversations.
Also, if you read these qualities and someone comes to mind who pours into your life…say thank you. We need more “peacemakers who reap harvests of righteousness” in our world today.