James series – “The Litmus Test for life”
James 3:13, 17-18
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 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. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
As we look at what a test passing wisdom looks like we are going to look again at the roots, attributes and fruits of test-passing wisdom starting first with the:
- ROOTS 3:17a
In Part 1 we talked about the heart of the problem being the roots and just like tree roots that are below the surface and are hard to see so is the heart. We saw the rotten roots of a heart that was full of selfish ambition, a heart that made the goal glorifying self instead of God. But here James says that the roots of a test passing wisdom are a pure heart. So, what does it mean for you to have a pure heart? Remember what Jesus said in the sixth Beatitude on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:8? “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” People with pure hearts get to see God. But how does that work? How pure is Jesus talking about here? Is he talking Ivory soap pure? Remember the old Ivory Soap commercials said their soap was 99.44% pure? Sounds pretty pure but doesn’t that still allow for over a half percent of something that’s unpure? That’s like drinking a pure glass of water that only has a teaspoon of dirt in it. Or cookies made from batter where a cat used the batter bowl as a litter box, after all it was just a little. But it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth. IsGod going to let that much impurity into His presence? Well, if not ivory soap pure how about gold bullion pure. The standard purity for gold bullion is 99.9% pure. While that is pure enough to get you into Fort Knox it’s still not pure enough to get you into God’s presence. So what about Canadian Gold Maple Leaf pure, the purest form of gold in the world. It is minted to 99.999% purity. Surely, if I could get my heart that pure, God would let me into His presence, wouldn’t He? Jesus addressed that a little further on in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:48, He said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Perfect, that’s the standard. Why? Because God is perfect. But that sounds like an impossible standard, I mean where does that kind of perfectly pure heart that is the only root of test-passing wisdom come from? James says that it comes from above. Because of our fallen, sin-marred condition, we are all born with a corrupt heart. And in and of ourselves, there’s nothing that we can do to change that. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” No one can except Christ. The One who gave up His place in Heaven as part of the eternal Godhead and took on human flesh. The One who was tempted yet did not sin. The one who not only understands the corruption of the human heart but has the cure. Because on the cross of Calvary He died to pay the price for our sinful heart. He doesn’t just remove our wicked heart he replaces it with a new one. A heart that’s pure, a heart that’s perfect. Not with your perfection, but with His. A heart that will see God. A heart from above. A heart that is the roots of test-passing wisdom. You will never have a test passing wisdom without a heart transplant. Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Spiritual wisdom starts with a reverence for God. What about you do you know Jesus as your Savior?