“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy, Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18 (NKJV).
Jealously and selfish ambition produce turmoil and “every evil practice.” (The word for evil here means “worthless, good-for-nothing.”) And, in the the Body of Christ, such an ungodly harvest can hardly accomplish the purposes of the Kingdom. It is wisdom that is as destructive as the unprincipled tongue that James had already warned about.
In contrast to disruptive wisdom is godly wisdom that produces a harvest of righteousness. Earthly, sensual, demonic wisdom is incubated in bitterness and strife and hatches barrenness and sterility, but peacemakers when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
Wisdom that is from above is just the opposite of what the world expects wisdom to be. Where there has been discord, there is now love. Where there has been arrogance, there is now consideration. Where there has been warfare, there is now peace. This is the “purity” of wisdom. In the Greek the word “pure” is related to the word “holy.” Since God is holy, all that bears relationship to Him must be holy.
Wisdom that is pure is peaceable. The desire for a right relationship with God and other people colors all of its activities. And such a desire makes it considerate, pliable, merciful, unvacillating, and sincere.
Someone has said that knowledge is the accumulation and assimilation of facts while wisdom is the ability to relate such facts to experience. Knowledge deals with relationships, while wisdom involves an understanding of their ends.
The wisdom that “comes from heaven” is the result of “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” so that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that [we] may know the hope” to which we are called (Ephesians 1:18). Such wisdom can only be acquired from the Father; and if anyone lacks this wisdom he or she “should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given” (James 1:5).
The Bible places a high premium on such godly enlightenment. God commended Solomon because he sought for wisdom more than wealth, health, or any of the other things for which he might have prayed. (1 Kings 3:11-14). “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). For “blessed is the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (Proverbs 3:13, 14). Why is it better than gold? Because in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).