The definition the Lord gave me for “wisdom” is: A set of values by which to perceive through.
James was a man of devoted prayer. He was known as O’ camel knees because his knees were actually deformed to the point they looked like the knees of a camel because he spent so much time on them in prayer. His book in the Bible describes the process of gaining wisdom, which comes through the gaining of self-knowledge. When he talks about the man who looks at his face intently in the mirror and walks away from it forgetting what he looks like, he is talking about this interior quest to find self-knowledge that will give us Godly wisdom and peace. He is talking about the man who sees the things inside himself which prevent him from attaining both peace and wisdom (perfect union with Jesus), but lets the first bump in life cause him to forget everything he learned about himself; then start blaming people and life again as the source of his problems.
When James talks about the man who forgets he asked God for wisdom, is tossed about by the waves of the sea and unstable in all his ways, explaining how the person shouldn’t allow himself to believe he will receive anything from God; he is talking about wisdom. The gift he shouldn’t expect to receive is wisdom and peace. When James tells us to consider it pure joy when going through trials and how to allow those trials to do their work in us, he is talking about gaining self-knowledge that will lead to wisdom from God which leads to peace.
James knows that spirit learns experientially. That is because memory is in the spirit and the language of spirit is not words. Wisdom, which resides in the spirit, is something that dictates our perception and is beyond words or word knowledge. Word knowledge of the mind and intelligence, which reside in the soul, enter in only after wisdom gives our soul/mind a spirit perception of a matter. This is why wisdom is sometimes described as experiential knowledge. The soul or mind can change with words and concepts, but the spirit changes through experience. Words mean very little to the spirit which goes by memories and experiences and “knowings” God deposits in the Spirit. The fact that the spirit changes experientially hold true because God Himself always tries to turn our hearts towards Him through experiential knowledge. Listen to what He says in 2 Chronicles:
2Ch 7:13-15 If I shut up heaven so no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.
The Lord doesn’t mean to cause us pain, however it is through real life experiences that we gain the self-knowledge we need to attain wisdom (a change in spirit perception (outlook, attitude). It was even said that Jesus, in Hebrews, learned obedience through suffering. That doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t obedient or that he didn’t know how to be obedient. It means by coming to Earth in the likeness of man He experientially learned obedience even while suffering as a sinful man.
What James is saying is that if you ask for wisdom, then buckle your seatbelt and prepare to have your world rocked. And when it happens don’t start crying how things are not fair or somebody is getting away with something and things are not just. He is saying sit back and patiently endure your real life experiences letting them do the work in you they are meant to do; remembering you asked for wisdom and God is giving it to you. And in the process He is exposing many bad things about you (self-knowledge) making you look like scum to the rest of the world. But when it's done doing what it’s meant to do, a crop of righteousness, heavenly wisdom and peace will you reap. The Lord does expose these things it says without finding fault. This is because God is pleased and hopeful because you are asking to change. “Discipline starts in the house of the Lord, and if it is like this for us what will it be like for the godless?” But if you forget you asked and in the middle of the process start blaming everything else in the world, why you are having a hard time, you will have gone through the process for nothing and will have gained nothing.
Ecc 1:18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief
Ecc 7:2-5 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better and gains gladness. [2 Cor. 7:10] The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth and sensual joy. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
In his book, James goes on to tell us the difference between Heavenly Wisdom and Worldly Wisdom.
Jas 3:11-17 Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water. Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).
The Christian way of attaining wisdom is the way of spiritual union. James makes this clear in these verses;
Jas 4:1-17 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James is talking about the difference between living life in the wisdom of this world and in one’s own power verses living in spiritual union with Jesus. In 4:15 when he says you ought to say, if it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that although they may think they are saying/bragging how successful they are, however, for James they are showing they are living their lives not in spiritual union with Jesus but in their own power. If you said, if it is the Lord’s will, then you are showing that you are living in spiritual union with Jesus. As Jesus said: I don’t have an agenda, but my Father has a plan and I do the work He gives me. Their words give them away when they speak about how they are going to do this or that.
We understand original sin is the cause of our down fall, but it is not that common to study its effect on us.
Adam and Eve sinned by ingesting the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The deciding factor that made ingesting this knowledge appealing was that they would be gods unto themselves—just like God Almighty. Although ingesting the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil gave us an outlook like God, we still lack the power God has. If I was to ask anyone if they thought they were God, they would say "no, of course not!" However, our human spirit perception, which we received from Adam, sees everything from the standpoint as if we were God.
(NIV Gen 3:5) ....when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil
What does this have to do with wisdom? Well, wisdom is like the software to a computer. Without it all the information stored in its memory may as well not be there. The software is needed to understand what it sees as something. It’s the same with the spirit, which is awareness. It needs software to understand what it sees as something. That software in the Bible is called wisdom. A set of values by which to perceive from. This (wisdom and perception) is a spirit function and is done in a place beyond words—in our very essences. It is only after we have a spirit perception that words, reasoning, rationalization of the soul or mind begin to work and give us thoughts and feeling about things.
God endowed the spirit of each kind of creature with a unique wisdom. The wisdom God endowed in man was much different than the wisdom He gave animals, and angels, for example. Wisdom can also be acquired through life experiences. The soul can change with words or concepts. But this is beyond the spirit which is memory. The spirit changes experientially since it understands things by its experiences.
The secondary reason Adam and Eve consumed or ingested the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is revealed in this verse:
Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
She thought it would give her the required wisdom (spiritual outlook—perception) needed to be like God. She was ingesting the spirit of the Devil, which was corrupt.
Eze 28:13-17 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the carnelian, topaz, jasper, chrysolite, beryl, onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and your settings and your sockets and engravings were wrought in gold. On the day that you were created they were prepared. [Gen. 3:14, 15; Isa. 14:12-15; Matt. 16:23] You were the anointed cherub that covers with overshadowing [wings], and I set you so. You were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [like the paved work of gleaming sapphire stone upon which the God of Israel walked on Mount Sinai]. [Exod. 24:10] You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity and guilt were found in you. Through the abundance of your commerce you were filled with lawlessness and violence, and you sinned; therefore I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud and lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground
The fruit of the knowledge of good and evil with its wisdom is a wisdom of the devil which he had corrupted to rebel against God and raise himself above Him. This is why Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life, and the True Manna that came down from heaven. This saying of Jesus’ is what James was referring to when he was talking about wisdom from God, when he said there is a wisdom that came down from heaven. Now we can understand why Jesus said you must eat my body and drink my blood, my body is real food and my blood real drink. Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood will never die. He was talking in line with how the story in Genesis was written .... they ate of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They took on the spirit of the devil (the tree) with his corrupt wisdom values which corrupted their spirit perception of seeing themselves as if they were God, therefore forever corrupted the human spirit that we receive from our father of the human race, Adam.
Below is the effect our corrupt wisdom values have had on us so that our perception sees itself as God:
• A world view that sees everything as originating from self
1. We are self-conscious instead of being God-conscious.
We see, feel, and experience everything as it affect us in a hyper-sensitive way, no longer seeing and experiencing others and circumstances as they truly are.
We see the first evidence of this recorded in the Bible when Adam and Eve hid from God self-conscious that they were naked.
NIV Ge 3:9-11 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ”
2. We are self-centered instead of being God-centered.
We no longer see the universe as revolving around God and His purposes, but as revolving around us individually and our own purposes, desires, and emotions.
We see our lives as something we alone sustain and preserve. If we don’t sustain our lives we believe it will parish. No longer seeing God as the one who sustains, provides, and preserves our lives. (You have to look out for number one)
We become self-willed, inventing our own purposes for our lives blind to God’s divine will and purpose for our lives. We become the judge and determine all things. We decide what is right and what is wrong. The only problem here is not only do we see everything with a me, myself, and I filter on our perception, but we also have very little information and insight into any situation as to how it fits into the bigger picture.
Our interest is to first preserve our own life, purposes, and desires as we understand them. We see and process everything in that light. We see everything in light of how everything and everyone is either a threat to us or serves us—enhances our world or takes away from it—helps us or hurts us. We no longer see things or people for what they truly are, but what they are in light of our own life, purposes, and desires. Although this may seem not, it is a hugely debilitating affect.
We look to and are mainly concerned with gratifying ourselves instead of gratifying God.
7. A world view that sees everything as originating from self.
Everything we sense we primarily and mistakenly perceive as coming out of us. This includes feelings, thoughts, desires, and motives, whether or not they are being generated by God, celestial beings, other people, or ourselves. We see everything beginning with us and our participation in a matter and ending with us and our role in the matter. (Life goes on without us)
Two other important things happened at that tree on that day that are important to mention. The way the serpent seduced Eve and Adam was to make them believe first that God couldn’t be trusted and also He was holding back something from them that they should have or desire to have:
Ge 3:3-5 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The part of our being that hears and receives God’s Spirit is our conscience. When it is working uncorrupted by the fall, it is followed/trusted above our intellect, which is a faculty of our mind/soul. A very subtle change happened when we took on the corrupt spirit: instead of using our intellect to understand what we were hearing from God and used it to see how what we were hearing from Him, was true; the corruption caused us to use our intellect to judge whether or not what we are hearing from God is true. Since the fall and since Adam believed from the serpent that God wasn’t trustworthy, we believe we can only trust our intellect, and that it knows better what is right or wrong since it thinks of itself as God. So the result is as we grow up and mature the way we think we invalidate, overrule, and dismiss what God is telling us through our conscience which is in a place beyond words (instinct). Instead we trust our intellect to decide what is right and what is good through reasoning and rationalizing with word knowledge. Our hearts are thus hardened to God and our conscience becomes ignored in preference of figuring things out with our mind. A most common saying that supports this and makes it normal to process this way is: ‘God gave you a brain now use it.”
This is one of the hardest stumbling blocks we run into when trying to teach someone to be a spiritual person following their conscience that comes as an instinct instead of reasoning and rationalizing with words what is from God and what is not. People just don’t trust not using their intellect to sort things out. Even if they are intuitive and hear God they still have to have a reason and see it as something good before they can believe their conscience. They think it is foolish and irresponsible to do so.
1Co 2:6 Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away.
1Co 2:14 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
In Gen 3:3-5 the serpent created an unholy desire in Adam and Eve to have something that God didn’t give them. This unholy desire is behind every sin, lust, and addiction. It is called covetousness. Covetousness is the biggest lie and deception of all time. It fills us with a feeling that we have to have something, or we will die with out it; we can’t stop thinking about it until we get it; its unfair or wrong that I don’t have it; I am incomplete if I don’t have it. I can’t help it I have to have it. Whether it is a lust to have somebody in adultery ( I can’t help my feelings I love her), or an additive feeling, or the feeling you are being short changed and don’t have what everybody else has. It is all the unholy lustful desire of covetousness that is the power behind those feelings.
But this is how we have been beguiled by the Devil. Those driving feelings to have something are not really about the object of the desire. It is the power and urging the Devil created by his unholy desire to break free from God. This is so important to understand. The covetousness desire we feel towards things we don’t have or want really are not about that object, it is a power to break free from God. Again, we think what we feel is for something we don ‘t have but what we feel is a lie, it is not about what we don’t have, it is misunderstood in our mind as that. It is a desire we give ourselves over to and are consumed with that wants to break free from God. And wants what is beyond and outside of God and what He has given us.
Ro 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death. But now since you have been set free from sin (and the power of covetousness’ unholy desire) and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.
We see in the first verse covetousness and the ensuing sin sets us free from God and His care and authority over us. The Devil could never talk Adam and Eve into hating God and wanting to break free from His cover and authority. So he beguiled them into taking on his unholy desire to do so by getting them to believe they wanted and needed something God was holding back from them. They were fooled into believing that what they felt was simply a desire to have that object (to be like God). In doing so they took on a monstrous compulsion to break free from God. It is the same for us, if we desire something God hasn’t given us or is His will for us to have it is a lie that we want that thing, it is the spirit of the Devil in us, compelling us to break free from God. As the scripture above tells us, once we come to terms with this, we realize breaking free from God cuts off life and it leads to physical and spiritual death. Romans also explains that Jesus’ Spirit in us (spiritual union) frees us from that monstrous spirit of the Devil in us that holds us in bondage as a slave in rebellion and freedom from God, so that we can make a choice to live in the freedom of obedience to God.