James 3:13

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.


“Wise” is the common Greek word for speculative knowledge and philosophy, but the Hebrews infused it with the much richer meaning of skillfully applying knowledge to the matter of practical living. The word for “understanding” is used only here in the New Testament and means a specialist or professional who could skillfully apply his expertise to practical situations. James is asking who is truly skilled in the art of living, meekness. Also rendered “gentleness,” it is the opposite of arrogance and self-promotion. The Greeks described it as power under control, wisdom. The kind that comes only from God.

Dear Lord, help us to humble our souls. As we persist for successes of many kinds, help us to keep our pursuit of success unrepulsive to those within our sphere of influence. It is with You that we find all perfect and peaceful wisdom, You allow us to smile in the reflection of our accomplishments, yet carry on to the next task without the need of validation from others or the idolization of self. Lord make it so we act for the sake of Your good news in the world, nothing less, as the reward of humility and selfless, genuine performance, is all that is needed. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.