By Ong Keng Ho
Jas 3:16 – 4:1:
(16) For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile
practice. (17) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to
reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (18) And a harve st of
righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (4:1) What causes quarrels
and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within
“Be yet wiser” was my school’s motto. Then it was drummed into me to hung
er for wisdom to satisfy my ego and strive for my place in the world. Ironically, little did I realize that it
soon should be my motto as a Christian. However even in church I found that we have not
gone past that kind of earthly driven wisdom. And it is a source of endless conflicts.
James saw it. The infighting pained him and he reflected, “What causes these quarrels and
fights among you? James uses the words “war” and “murder” to describe the horror when
such hostilities and bad feelings arise among Ch ristian brethren. War afflicts, kills and hurts.
It’s doubly painful when the shots are fired from within. He affirmed it should not be
“among you” and “within you” ie the church. There is enough of a killing field out there.
James answered his own quest
ion. He traced the origin of these conflicts to one word
“passions” or lusts. It virtually summarizes the earthly wisdom he spelt out in 3: 14 16. It’s
the unspiritual selfish craving arising from the desires of our eyes, flesh and pride of life.
The fru its are disorder and evil acts, in other words “quarrels” and “fights” and a divided
We might justify these fights, perhaps as ‘striving for justice and truth’. But is it really out of
a love of God or is it a cover for our passions? Is it God’s way or the devil’s tool?
To reclaim a hurting church, James was stressing that God
given wisdom has to abide in
Jesus’ church. And we are urged to get this wisdom by pleading for it. But we will not receive
it for feeding our passions.
given wisdom will give the church an atmosphere of peace instead of unruly
disharmony. For heavenly wisdom has first of all, an important purifying effect in those it
abides. While earthly wisdom defiles the heart with jealousy and selfish ambi tion, spiritual
wisdom from above purifies our sinful hearts and minds.
Its purifying brings forth wisdom’s fruits of peace, reason, mercy, impartiality and sincerity, among others (3:17among others (3:17–18). The result is a breed of peace18). The result is a breed of peace–makers among those who ministermakers among those who minister and those who are ministered. Together, they choose and act wisely to produce a crop of and those who are ministered. Together, they choose and act wisely to produce a crop of righteousness that will grow only in a climate of peace in the church. Blessed are the pure in righteousness that will grow only in a climate of peace in the church. Blessed are the pure in heart and peaceheart and peace–makers (Mat 5:9). God will own them. They resemble him. makers (Mat 5:9). God will own them. They resemble him. He is the God He is the God of peace; the Prince of peace; and the Spirit of peace. of peace; the Prince of peace; and the Spirit of peace.
Christian wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life. And the daily choices we make shape happy lives and loving relationships with God and neighbor. Otherwise, James asserts shape happy lives and loving relationships with God and neighbor. Otherwise, James asserts even if we are teachers of the bible, we can be worldly wise, quarrelsome members with a even if we are teachers of the bible, we can be worldly wise, quarrelsome members with a dead faith. dead faith.
Get this wisdom by committing to apply God’s truth and evidence His love and peace in our daily life experiences. Christian wisdom is not abstract but prour daily life experiences. Christian wisdom is not abstract but practical. Hence, for Christ’s and church’s sake, let’s make it our goal to “be yet wiser”. Let’s grow and build together with heavenly wisdom. Earthly wisdom destroys God’s church by and build together with heavenly wisdom. Earthly wisdom destroys God’s church by virtue of peacevirtue of peace–breakers. Let’s labour godly wise and ask breakers. Let’s labour godly wise and ask constantly for this gift of God for constantly for this gift of God for He has promised to give us abundantly for His cause and kingdom..He has promised to give us abundantly for His cause and kingdom..