Are you seeking that good and perfect gift this Christmas?
While the crowds chase after bargain deals at the malls on fitness watches, iPads, and other treasures, we’re inviting our congregation to ask for the gifts that don’t come in boxes under a tree this Christmas.
James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (1:17) and one of the most valuable treasures from God is Wisdom. “If you need wisdom,” James writes, “ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (1:5).
Now, most of us associate wisdom in the Bible with the Book of Proverbs and King Solomon. Solomon was once visited by God in a dream, and given the opportunity to ask God for anything! Solomon famously asked God for wisdom to reign wisely over his kingdom.
God granted him wisdom, and he certainly was one of the wisest people to ever live. His wisdom helped him prosper in politics, building projects, international relations, and more. He accumulated unspeakable amounts of wealth. He was widely esteemed and sought after for his wisdom.
But…despite all his wisdom and success in many areas of life, he still failed in his personal relationships. When it came to his family and especially marriage(s) he proved to be a fool.
James offers us a new, improved, Jesus-shaped “wisdom from above” that takes us beyond the wisdom of Solomon, and helps us be wise and successful in our relationships! This Advent we’re focusing our Sunday sermons on the 7 attributes or results of this higher wisdom from above that Jesus teaches us.
Imagine how your life and relationships would be improved if you were to receive these seven gifts this Christmas? Let’s unwrap each one this week — one each day — and reflect on them over the coming weeks.
17 But 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 the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
Far from being the pithy sayings of Proverbs or practical tips for “getting ahead”, this “wisdom from above” looks conspicuously like the fruit of the spirit, or the beatitudes, described elsewhere in the New Testament. Moreover, they are all characteristics that reveal themselves in our interactions with others. They are relational abilities and skills that help all our relationships flourish when present.
This week, ponder how each of these might aid you in your daily interactions with a spouse, child, coworker, or hard-to-love person in your life. Imagine how these 7 would aid us in our political conversations with people we disagree with.
Wisdom from above is:
Monday – pure
Tuesday – peace loving
Wednesday – gentle at all times
Thursday – willing to yield to others
Friday – full of mercy and good deeds
Saturday – shows no favoritism
Sunday – sincere/honest
Here’s a great introduction to the Letter of James from The Bible Project.