I need wisdom, how about you?

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” -James 3:13

Our first response when reading this verse may be to attempt to live the “good life- the godly life” through OUR good deeds. But such a response misses the point. James’ is calling us to go deeper.

He doesn’t want us to get the cart before the horse; or more aptly said, he doesn’t want us to personally take the place of the horse and pull the cart in our own strength. We have to pause in thought and prayer in order to avoid missing what his instructions are for us here.

Did you notice the wording of the phrase, “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” It’s a mouthful. And it takes a moment of pondering to digest it. It tells us that the wise persons’ deeds are done in a humility that flows from wisdom. It makes sense. But what does it mean? Question: Where do we get this wisdom that provides the power for our deeds?

James tells us that it comes from God and not from ourselves. In another verse (“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” -1:5), we’re instructed to ask God for wisdom.

Here’s the point.

I don’t know the answers to life, nor do I have the ability to live the good life in my own strength, so I have to go to God in HUMILITY” and ask for His help and the Spirit’s power.

The good life James speaks of, always begins and ends with our pursuit of God. He wants to work in us and through us, instead of having us do all our works in our own strength. If we approach life in this manner, we naturally direct all the glory to Him. This is the reason we should have a humble posture.

I don’t please God because I TRY to serve Him through my good works. Instead, I give God pleasure, when I seek a relationship with Him and allow Him to work in and through me, thereby producing “good works and the good life” by His Spirit. This nuanced approach to life eliminates my pride and my self reliance.

person in black sweater opening book
This also take the pressure to perform and be sharp and fruitful off our shoulders. We can live with confidence that God is leading and He will do His works in and through us. He will complete it as live surrendered and centered in Him.

So I am left asking myself: Do my deeds flow from godly wisdom and God’s working in me, or do they reflect my own strength and efforts? When I begin to fret or feel the stresses of life and my responsibilities, will I lean into Him or into myself?

The road to wisdom leads to the good life by deeds done in humility from God.