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"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Football manager

Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? James: 3:13

Elaine Storkey, whom I have already quoted in this series, says, "I don't think our culture understands wisdom". She suggests that we value knowledge, experience and qualifications so much because we do not recognize wisdom. We talk about being worldly-wise - meaning knowing how to break the rules and get away with it. Have you seen the bumper sticker, "Hire a teenager while they still know all the answers?"

How do we know that wisdom is? Start with its source. James says in 3:15 that real wisdom comes from heaven - anything else is "earthly, unspiritual, of the devil".

James answers the question at the top in the second half of verse 13. Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. Having wisdom does not enable you to win "How wants to be a millionaire" or whatever the TV quiz programme may be. The test of wisdom - as with all spiritual gifts - is what difference does it make in your life - a good life, good deeds. And with humility. If our wisdom comes from God - and it isn't real wisdom if it does not - then what have we to boast about?

In 3:17 he continues: 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. Wisdom is all about others. God does not give wisdom to make a person feel clever. God gives wisdom to equip the person to serve others - humbly, sincerely, mercifully

There are about 170 references to wisdom in the Bible. A key verse is Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom. Remember too James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

We may not be the best player in our club but we can strive to be the wisest. Let us ask God for wisdom and then desire to apply our wisdom humbly and in service of others.



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