Daily Devotional

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom." James 3:13 (ESV)

I always thought it was interesting that there’s no day honoring the virtue of wisdom. We commemorate love (Valentine’s Day), thankfulness (Thanksgiving), and patriotism (4th of July). We even have April Fool’s Day but no April Wisdom Day.

April Fool’s Day always confused me. Where did it come from? What does it even mean? There’s actually lots of ideas of how April Fool’s Day got started. My favorite explanation is that it started in 1582 when France switched from the Julian to Gregorian Calendar. The Julian Calendar was made under Julius Caesar in 56BC. In that calendar the New Year was April 1st. Pope Gregory the 13th implemented the Gregorian Calendar and switched the New Year to begin on January 1st.

Back in the 1500’s it took some time for word of anything to spread so some adopted the new calendar while others continued operating under the old system. The story goes that those who still celebrated the New Year on April 1st were called “April Fool’s.” The new calendar existed, but not everyone used it. In the same way, we know that wisdom exists, and yet sadly not all use it.

When we consider the question “who is wise and understanding among you?” we’d probably all like to raise our hands. I certainly hope that I’m wise, but how do we know if we’re ACTUALLY wise? James gives us the answer; wisdom is shown by how we behave. We can say we’re wise, we can hope we’re wise, we can even think we’re wise, but how we live shows whether or not that’s true.

Today more than ever we have more knowledge easily available at our fingertips, and yet wisdom and knowledge are not the same, they are different concepts. Knowledge speaks of the things you KNOW, i.e. things you can learn. Wisdom essentially speaks of applying knowledge; using the things you know in a beneficial way. Knowledge is knowing I shouldn’t eat too many cookies, but wisdom is actually putting the cookies away before they’re all gone. Knowledge doesn’t automatically make me wise, how I behave shows whether or not I’m wise.

Wisdom is an essential ingredient to live well in this world as we pursue Jesus Christ. All the way back in the beginning of his letter James tells us a fool-proof plan to get wisdom; ask God. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” We must first recognize that God is the giver of wisdom. We also need to acknowledge that ALL of us are lacking and need to continually ask God for more of His wisdom. The good news is, we know that when we ask, He is faithful to provide.

In so many ways (especially today) whether or not someone is right is looked at as a matter of opinion. With so little certainty in our modern world, it’s comforting to know we can still live in wisdom. We can ask God for His wisdom and be confident that He will provide.