James 3:13-18
The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere (v.17).


God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).


Which type of wisdom do you exhibit the most— godly or ungodly? What do you need to do to live out the wisdom of God?

Yogi Berra, former Major League Baseball player and manager, demonstrated the linguistic gymnastics that earned him eight entries in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, when he addressed graduates at Montclair State University with these gems: “First, never give up, because it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” “Remember that whatever you do in life, 90 percent of it is half mental.” How’s that for some confusing common wisdom?

James, the brother of Jesus was one of the most prominent leaders in the early church. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, he demonstrated his writing skills and uncommon wisdom when he penned 5 chapters in the greatest book in the world—the Bible. In chapter 3, James defined two types of wisdom—spiritual and godly; unspiritual and ungodly. According to verses 14-16, being bitterly jealous and selfish is the epitome of being unwise. James’ readers would have understood what his words meant: Having ill will toward others, creating cliques, measuring yourself by your own standards, and denying what God says about you are all characteristics of an ungodly and a devil-motivated wisdom.

In verses 17-18, James presents some characteristics of godly wisdom: walking in integrity with God and others (purity); refusing to awaken and incite anger in other people (peace loving, planting seeds of peace); valuing and accepting other people’s feelings, opinions, and suggestions (gentle, yielding to others); forgiving others’ mistakes and sins (merciful); and being transparent about my weaknesses (sincerity).

Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:30). When we stay connected to Him (John 15:5), His values and very life will be formed in us and His wisdom— from above—will flow through us.

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15 Responses to “godly wisdom”

  1. bethanyF says:

    I’ve been exhibiting ungodly wisdom lately because of a coworker who always says unkind things. I need to turn the other cheek but it is so hard. I needed this devotional today and I know that with God’s help it won’t be hard. I pray that the holy Spirit would work in me today and help me to say hello to her when she says hello to me and not ignore her.

    • Bethany, thank you for being so open and honest. We all experience days of using ungodly wisdom. I am so thankful that we have a Father who understands. Cast all your cares on him because he cares about what happens to you. Blessings on you as you live for him today.

  2. graciousgrace says:

    I was reading this chapter yesterday after the Lord brought verse 17 to my mind about the characteristics of Godly wisdom…. it was to discern my thoughts on a certain matter and to use those measurements to see if my thoughts were from God or not. It will involve speaking to someone in love about a certain aspect of ministry. How can I know for sure that I am speaking in this kind of wisdom?

    • Are you connected to Jesus in prayer and his word? Is what you have to say true? Will your words be beneficial to the person? Do you love the person? or, are you angry with the person? Have you spoken to anybody else about it? Will it ultimately bring glory to God? These are a few questions that can help determine if your words are coming from a good place. You are not necessarily responsible for their reaction, but you are responsible how you present truth. I hope this helps.

  3. lyndygayle says:

    I pray for Godly Wisdom in our country’s rulers, my state rulers and my city rulers. I pray for it in my pastors and in my family.

  4. axcvilla says:

    It amazes me how well this devotional coincides with everything that comes along in my life. Truly, there is only one spirit.

    I attended my church’s mid-week worship last night and the pastor preached about pursuing Godly relationships…

    One of the interesting passages he mentioned was in Ephesians 3:10 which mentions the ‘manifold wisdom of God’. You see the beauty of it all is that church is both the message and the messenger of God’s wisdom. It is a reflection of his heart, of his strength, his character, his ingenuity, and his infinite capacity to bring things together.

    • God is so works in a symmetrical fashion – God uses one to say something and we come full circle with God using someone else to say something similar to get our attention. Thanks for your affirming words. Blessings on you today as you live for him.

  5. I pray this as well. I am asking God to fill me with the knowledge of himself so that I will know how to please him in every way. This is difficult at times because of all the noise and clutter in our culture. We gain this wisdom through his word and obeying what we already know. Blessings!

  6. Absolutely! Amen and Amen! that’s all I can say after that.

  7. Ted, thanks for the words of encouragement and the additional admonition. Let’s keep each other lifted up before our heavenly Father.

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