James asks a very important question…who is wise and understanding among us? The topic of wisdom isn’t mentioned all that frequently anymore, especially outside of spiritual circles. What is often discussed in our world is competence. When someone is good at something, they are recognized and praised.
When someone acts wisely, we rarely hear about it.
James actually gives us the reason for this…and I’ll get to that shortly.
James teaches that wisdom is revealed by the actions and habits that result in a good life. Wisdom therefore is something we show by our life, not something we claim with our words.
He further elaborates that a good life will consist of good deeds done in humility. They are done without drawing attention to either the person or the deeds themselves.
That’s why we don’t often hear about wisdom.
Wisdom that proclaims itself is not actually wisdom. It is pride and self-centeredness pretending to be wisdom.
Finally, James tells us the humility that characterizes these deeds is actually derived from wisdom. In other words, humility grows out of wisdom.
One who is proud is not wise.
One who is wise is not proud.
In the medical profession we are often drawn to competence without also valuing wisdom. We can prioritize competence over cultivating wisdom.
Fortunately, there is no need to sacrifice one for the other.
Both competence and wisdom in medicine is important.
However, while it is certainly possible for someone to be both wise and competent, there are many distinctions between the two.
Wisdom is hidden… competence is comfortable being flashy.
Wisdom is quiet…competence doesn’t mind being heard.
Wisdom is self-effacing…competence readily accepts attention.
Wisdom is humble…competence often leads to pride.
Wisdom is about living right…competence is about doing right.
Wisdom always implies competence…but competence can exist without wisdom.
It’s easier to be competent than it is to be wise.
I’ll be spending some time examining what the Scripture has to say about wisdom and how it relates to achieving shalom in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, help me from confusing competence with wisdom and bring the light of Your Spirit into the areas of my life where wisdom is needed.