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40 Test 7: The Wisdom Test, Part 7

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.

After looking at the roots of a test passing wisdom next we see the:

  • ATTRIBUTES 3:17b

Test-passing wisdom has the attributes of being both empty and full. First, it is empty of self. If I had to pick the foremost message of our age, it would be the message of self-esteem. The wisdom of the world tells us that problem with people today is that they don’t have enough self-esteem. So let’s take a moment and evaluate that message. We know what self is, but what does it mean to esteem one’s self? Esteem means “the condition of being honored,” “an attitude of admiration”, “to regard highly”, “to think much of.” Well I don’t see that we lack that in our current culture. In truth its actually our problem, we are too full of ourselves, we esteem ourselves too highly. We have created a culture that is focused on what is going to make me look good and what’s going to make me feel good. Even if its at the expense of how I treat others. A lack of self-esteem isn’t the problem, it’s being full of ourselves. No James makes it clear that a test-passing wisdom is empty of self, its peaceable, gentle and agreeable. You see, you can’t be peaceable if you always insist on having it your own way. Or gentle if you’re always defending your rights. Or agreeable if you insist that everybody always agrees with you. You can’t be peaceable, gentle and agreeable if you are esteeming yourself. Why? Because you can’t be those things if you’re full of yourself. You can only be peaceable, gentle and agreeable if you’re full of the Holy Spirit. And that’s the second attribute of test-passing wisdom. Its not just about being empty of self it’s about being full of the Spirit. Being full of the Spirit is the key to being empty of self. Because you can’t just tell yourself to be empty of yourself. That’s like trying to empty this room of all its air, it can’t be done. You can’t empty this room of air or you would have a void. But what you can do is replace it. The key is that it’s not about removing it’s about replacing, because replacing leads to displacing. ILLUSTRATION WATER BOTTLE.  If your heart is filled up with self, if you have made the goal esteeming yourself, then the only way to empty your heart of you is to replace it. Replace the one you’re esteeming. Instead of esteeming yourself, start esteeming Jesus. Because when we are empty of self and full of the Spirit you’ll have the third attribute of test-passing wisdom, you’ll be absent of insincerity. When you are empty of self because you’re full of the Spirit, you won’t show the kind of favoritism that fuels the fires of hypocrisy we talked about in the preference test several weeks ago. One of the number one reasons people give for not going to church is that the church is full of hypocrites. The antidote to the plague of hypocrisy that is poisoning the church is not just being empty of self but being full of the Spirit. Are you full of yourself? Whether you like yourself or not doesn’t really matter. Some of the most self-absorbed people I know don’t really like themselves. Are you full of yourself, or full of the Spirit? How do you know, well are you willing for people to offend you? To trample on your rights? To mock and ridicule you? Christ was, Philippians 2:1-5 says He emptied Himself and became an obedient slave, and that we are to model the same mindset. Godly attributes like peace, gentleness and unity come from a Godly attitude. Your attitude will determine your attributes.