But the wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help those who are troubled and to do good for others. It is always fair and honest. People who work for peace in a peaceful way plant a good crop of right-living. (James 3:17-18)
I daresay we all want to act wisely, but as much as we 'want' it, we fail to always exercise the greatest of wisdom in some of our choices. How can we 'want' something so badly and still miss out on it so frequently? I don't think it is by accident because we don't always remember the 'rules of wisdom': 1) If it is wise, it will be pure; 2) If it is wise, it will be done with a peace of mind and heart; 3) If it is wise, there will be a gentleness to the action; and 4) If it is wisdom, it may not seem to be the easiest course up front, but it will definitely be the easiest on the back-end!
We are surrounded by all manner of impure options, thoughts, and examples. We need to learn to recognize the pure from the impure. There is so much presented to us with just a 'margin' of impurity that we easily embrace the whole as 'pure'. How can we develop an awareness of the 'pure'? It comes as we spend time getting to know God's Word, listening to his voice in the form of what some might call an 'unction' (a fancy word for having the impression something is right for us to pursue), and being aware of the little 'checks' that can occur when we are about to pursue something that isn't wise.
Can we use peace as a means of evaluating a 'wise' versus 'unwise' action? It is possible to use this as one of the 'tests' to evaluate our actions but remember that relying solely upon 'feelings' can be a little untrustworthy. We can think we have 'peace' about a matter but miss hearing God's voice on the matter because we are driven by our desire more than submitting that desire to his guidance. Peace about something rarely stands alone - we need to evaluate the intended action against what we know to be true of God's character, what is declared in his Word, and the 'checks & balances' we receive from the Holy Spirit within.
If we review our passage again, there is other 'evidence' of wise actions - such as the action being fair and honest. In other words, we don't seek to take the action because it will benefit us alone. We keep the needs of others in mind, as well. If we are constantly evaluating our actions through the eyes of the Spirit who resides within, we will be less likely to take actions that further impurity's inroad in society. We will be concerned not only about our welfare, but that of those around us, as well. We will be engaged in actions that produce a good crop - one that is able to reproduce wise actions in those around us. Just sayin!
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