The book of James has a lot
to say about wisdom. Some have called James the wisdom literature of the New
Testament. Early in chapter one the importance of wisdom is underscored by the
promise that wisdom will be freely given to those who genuinely ask for it.
Certainly, parents need wisdom to faithfully represent God to all of their
children. But I believe that perhaps the greatest need for wisdom is when
interacting with teenagers. Teenagers seem to appear out of the blue. Yesterday,
you had a respectful child who seemed eager to please and thought that most of
the things you said and did were wise and wonderful. This morning you woke up
and found a stranger living in an older version of the body that used to belong
to your child. This person seems to think that very little you do is wonderful.
You look at your spouse in disbelief and say, what happened?
Did someone mention wisdom?
Well, James 3 talks about wisdom in helpful and explicit ways. And, as a father
who has raised 5 teenagers who are now in their 20s, I can also say that James
talks about wisdom in ways that can be painful. They were painful for me because
my own understanding of wisdom was in need of a drastic overhaul. Verse 17 of
this chapter is a description of wisdom from above. The description fits with
the style of Old Testament Wisdom literature. There is a list of seven
components of wisdom, with the one that is, perhaps, the most crucial right in
The verse reads this way in
But the wisdom from above
open to reason,
full of mercy and good fruits,
It is more challenging to
look at each of the components of wisdom from above separately, as distinct
parts that make up a complete, or perfect whole. In just this one description
lies a beautiful and powerful picture of godly wisdom.
This series of posts will
focus on these seven components and how wisdom from above can improve your
relationship with your teenagers for the glory of God. To get started, take a
look at the seven items listed above, and then ask yourself how your
communication with your teenager compares to wisdom from above.