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But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Heavenly Wisdom

The Origin

True or Heavenly wisdom comes from above. Heavenly or not “man-made” wisdom comes from God. Heavenly Wisdom is the only wisdom that brings lasting success.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

This wisdom from above is in sharp contrast to that which is earthly, sensual, and devilish. What is the Christian’s wisdom? Jesus Christ is our wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:24, 30).

Colossians 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The first step toward true wisdom is the receiving of Jesus Christ as Saviour. The Word of God is also our wisdom. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments… Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations” (Deut. 4:5–6).

The Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15). We find wisdom through believing prayer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” The Holy Spirit of God is “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17) and He directs us in the wisest paths as we trust the Word and pray. This is the origin of Heavenly Wisdom. The origin of true wisdom is God. There is no need to get the wisdom of the world, the wisdom that caters to the flesh and accomplishes the work of the devil. Get wisdom from God!

The Operation

Heavenly wisdom, operates in a different way from the wisdom that is “earthly, sensual, devilish.” They originate from radically different sources. They operate in opposite ways.


Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. The meek person does not selfishly assert himself. The Greek word was used for a horse that had been broken so that his power was under control. The meek person seeks only the glory of God and does not cater to the praises of men. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23); it cannot be manufactured by man. Meekness is the right use of power. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.


“First pure” indicates the importance of holiness. God is holy; therefore the wisdom from above is pure. The idea behind this word is “chaste, free from defilement.” Heavenly wisdom leads to purity of life.


Earthly wisdom leads to competition, rivalry, and war. Heavenly wisdom leads to peace. It is a peace based on holiness, not on compromise. If the church is pure, devoted to God, then there will be peace. Earthly wisdom says, “Cover up sin! Keep things together!” Heavenly wisdom says, “Confess sin and My peace will keep things together!”


Gentle (gentleness) carries the meaning of moderation without compromise, gentleness without weakness. The gentle person does not deliberately cause fights, but neither does he compromise the truth in order to keep peace. Carl Sandburg described Abraham Lincoln as a man of “velvet steel.” That is a good description of gentleness.

Easy to be intreated

Compliant – heavenly wisdom makes the believer agreeable and easy to live with and work with.  Earthly wisdom makes a person hard and stubborn. The compliant person is willing to hear all sides of a question, but he does not compromise his own stance.  He can disagree without being disagreeable. “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”(1:19).

Stubbornness is not conviction. In fact, one who is so stubborn as to not hear all sides is usually not set in their own stance. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is a willingness to listen, think, pray, and obey whatever God reveals.

Full of Mercy

To be “full” of something is to be “controlled by.” The person who follows God’s wisdom is controlled by mercy. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy, He does not give us what we do deserve. Our Lord’s Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates the meaning of mercy (Luke 10:25–37). For a Samaritan to care for a Jewish stranger was an act of mercy. He could gain nothing from it, except the blessing that comes from doing the will of God; and the victim could not pay him back. That is mercy.

Good fruits 

People who are faithful are fruitful. Heavenly wisdom does not make a life empty; it makes it full. The Spirit produces fruit to the glory of God. The lawyer in Luke 10 was willing to discuss the subject of neighborliness, but he was unwilling to be a neighbor and help someone else. God’s wisdom is practical; it changes the life and produces good works to the glory of God.

Without partiality

With earthly wisdom, you are pressured from one side and then another to change your mind or take a new viewpoint. With heavenly wisdom, you need not waver; you can be decisive and not be afraid. Wisdom from above brings strength from above.

Without hypocrisy 

The Greek word translated hypocrite in our New Testament means “one who wears a mask, an actor.” When man’s wisdom is at work, there may be insincerity and pretense. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is openness and honesty, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Wherever you find God’s people pretending and hiding, you can be sure the wisdom of this world is governing their ministry. “Politics in Religion” is an abomination to God. “Faith is living without scheming.” This is the operation of heavenly wisdom, much the opposite of earthly.

The Outcome

James returned to the word, fruit. There is a vast difference between man-made results and God-given fruit. Fruit is the product of life, and fruit has in it the seeds for more fruit. Usually, it is the seed that is sown, but here it is the fruit that is sown. As we share the fruit of God with others, they are fed and satisfied, and they in turn bear fruit. The Christian life is a life of sowing and reaping.

For that matter, every life is a life of sowing and reaping, and we reap just what we sow. The Christian who obeys God’s wisdom sows righteousness, not sin; he sows peace, not war. The life we live enables the Lord to bring righteousness and peace into the lives of others. The outcome of the operation in heavenly wisdom is fruit!

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN