Leading with Wisdom (James 3:17) - Radical

Leading with Wisdom (James 3:17)

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
– James 3:17

What a powerful, beautiful description of wisdom. Isn’t it like the whole picture? Now, go all the way back to James 1. And we have this promise from God that when we lack wisdom, we just ask God and he is generous. He will give us the wisdom we need. And then you get to James 3, and you see a contrast between wisdom in this world and wisdom that comes from above. Wisdom in this world is earthly, unspiritual, demonic, marked by jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, and vile practice. And we don’t want that wisdom. But the wisdom from above is first…

Instead of even just reading this again, I want to jump right into praying for these things for every one of our lives. Don’t we all need wisdom? We’re all prone to folly. We all need wisdom. We need help. I think about my life. I can’t do anything apart from God’s help. Apart from God’s wisdom, I can’t be the man God’s called me to be, the husband God’s called me, the dad God’s called me to be, the pastor God’s called me to be. I can’t do any of that apart from his wisdom. I need wisdom. We all do. And in a 1 Kings 3 kind of sense, Solomon’s saying, “God, just help me. I need wisdom.” And God promises to give it when we ask. So let’s pray for this kind of wisdom, James 3:17 wisdom.

James 3:17 Prays for Pure Wisdom

God, we pray for pure wisdom. We pray for peaceable wisdom, even in light of the next verse that says, “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” God, we pray for wisdom to make peace, to pursue peace in a world of strife and division. We know, God, that’s where worldly wisdom leads. God, we pray for peaceable wisdom. We pray for gentle wisdom. What verse 13 in James 3 says in terms of meekness of wisdom, God, we pray that you would make us wise and gentle, not harsh. God, we pray that you would help us to have a wisdom that is open to reason, open to learn from others, open to listen, as we read in James chapter 1. God, we pray for wisdom that’s open to reason, for wisdom that’s full of mercy and good fruits.

Yes, God, we pray that your wisdom in us would bear good fruit and be merciful to people around us. We pray for impartial wisdom. God, we pray that just as we read in James 2, that we would not show favoritism or partiality toward others. We pray for wisdom to be impartial and sincere, to be authentic. God, we pray for sincere, authentic wisdom.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Afghan Believers to Have Wisdom

So we pray for people of Afghanistan, specifically our brothers and sisters in Christ there. We pray for this kind of wisdom for them as they make disciples and plant churches there. God, give them the wisdom to know how best to do that. How best to spread the Gospel, how best to plant churches, how most wisely to build up your body and glorify your name. God, we pray for their wisdom. Help them in every way they need. Even as we confess our need for your help in our lives in all these ways, God, we pray for wisdom from above. For us, for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, that is pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and open to reason, and full of mercy and good fruits, and impartial and sincere. In Jesus’ name, we pray for James 3-like wisdom. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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