I just finished teaching my staff’s weekly Bible study. We have been in James for about 12 weeks now. It is neat to see how much God has taught us over these past 12 weeks. We all have a much deeper understanding of God’s message on the differences between dead faith and living faith. Here is a quick review of the previous lessons from James.
- Living faith vs. Dead faith
- Living faith vs. Dead faith part II
- Trials and Temptations; what’s the difference?
- Genuine faith in action
- Two spiritual births; death and life
- Living faith in action
- Living faith revealed
- Living faith produces good works
- Living faith tames the tongue with wisdom from above
For this week’s lesson, we focused teaching the wisdom that comes from above. We focused on what we learned about teaching and what we learned about the wisdom from above. Our main passage is James 3. Take a moment to read it.
I. Teaching wisdom from above
The first thing that James teaches us about teaching is to be careful. If you are a teacher, be careful what you teach. You can either teach earthly wisdom, which leads to dead faith and no life transformation, or, you can teach the wisdom from above, which leads to living faith and complete life transformation. If you are being taught, be careful that your teacher is teaching you heavenly wisdom and not earthly wisdom. Is your teacher teaching you from the Word of God or about the Word of God? There is a big difference between the two things. How do you know if your teacher is teaching you wisdom from above or earthly wisdom? Your tongue is the gauge. If you are being taught wisdom from above, your tongue will be tamed and you will use your words for good, to build up instead of for evil. Earthly wisdom cannot tame the tongue. Earthly wisdom will actually encourage the tongue in its evil ways. When you teach people, does it lead to life transformation or behavior modification?
In order for a person to be able to teach, he or she must have had his or her tongue tamed by the wisdom from above. That person must be a living example of what he or she is teaching. The reason that this person must live what he is teaching and teach the wisdom from above is that by teaching, he ends up influencing others. If he is not living what he is teaching then he will influence others in a negative way. If he is not teaching the wisdom from above, he will lead others to dead faith and now at least two people have gone astray.
Now, according to Ephesians 4 and Matthew 28, not everyone has the spiritual gift of teaching but everyone is called to make disciples, which will involve teaching people the Word of God. If you are making disciples, are you teaching them the wisdom from above or are you teaching them earthly wisdom? If you have the spiritual gift of teaching and are teaching inside the church, are you teaching the wisdom from above or are you teaching earthly wisdom? What does the wisdom from above look like? What are the results of being taught the wisdom from above and applying it?
II. Fruit of wisdom from above
The wisdom from above produces tangible fruit in a person’s life. The first thing that it does is it tames the tongue. The tongue is now used for good instead of for evil. Let’s take a look at the individual characteristics of the fruit of the wisdom from above.
- Pure – It is unmixed by earthly wisdom. What you see and expect is what you get. It does not disappoint or deceive.
- Peaceable – It produces peace in you and moves you to use your words to produce peace with others, instead of harming them.
- Gentle – It changes you from being selfish to be submissive to God and His will.
- Reasonable – Since it is not lead by selfish ambition, it causes you to be reasonable with others.
- Full of mercy – This wisdom causes us to be full of mercy, not giving others around us what they actually deserve. They deserve being cut down by our words because they do the same to us. Instead of cutting with my words, I now use my tongue to seek peace.
- Full of good fruit
- Unwavering – Earthly wisdom is unstable, shifting to extremes. This wisdom leads to stability.
- without hypocrisy – there is nothing to hide. This wisdom does not lead you to do things that you have to cover up or sneak around to do.
This wisdom comes from the Lord and is found in His Word. It leads to living faith, producing genuine salvation. We are changed from the inside out. We are able to overcome our sin nature and it is seen by the fact that we can tame our tongues. Our words no longer hurt but are now used to help.
What about you my dear friend, are you being taught the wisdom from above? If you are a teacher, are you teaching people God’s Word so that they can learn the wisdom from above? Is the fruit of the wisdom from above present in your life? How do you respond when attacked supposed believers with hurtful words? Do you live from one extreme to another or are you balanced because of the wisdom from above? May the Lord help us learn to live by and teach the wisdom from above, as found in the Word of God.