“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
Divine wisdom produces a changed life.
The one who possesses godly wisdom will show it in his life. That’s why James says, “Let him show by his good behavior his deeds” (3:13, emphasis added). The phrase “let him show” is a command to demonstrate one’s wisdom and understanding. That is the thrust of James 2:14-26, summarized in verse 26: “Faith without works is dead.” A person’s claim to have faith will be validated by his works. Similarly, James is saying that if you claim to be wise, you need to demonstrate it. From God’s perspective, wisdom is made manifest by the way a person conducts his life.
How will a person show he has true wisdom? By his “good behavior” (3:13). The Greek word translated “good” means “lovely,” “beautiful,” “attractive,” “noble,” or “excellent.” The term translated “behavior” speaks of one’s lifestyle or activity. If a person truly has divine wisdom and living faith, he will show it by his good conduct and excellent lifestyle.
James becomes specific when he says, “Let him show by his good behavior his deeds” (v. 13, emphasis added). He is focusing on the details. The wisdom of God alters not only your general conduct, but also what you do specifically. Every act within a person’s life is consistent with how he conducts his entire life. If it’s a life based on the wisdom of God, each aspect of his life will reveal that. The general pattern of his life and the specific things he does will reflect the work, the way, and the will of God. Take time to examine your life and see whether your conduct proves that you possess the true wisdom of God.
Suggestions for Prayer
A wise person will manifest good behavior. Read Psalm 119:33-40, making the prayer of the psalmist your own.
For Further Study
Your conduct will reveal whether you’re living wisely. What do the following verses say about how you should live: Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12; and 2 Peter 3:11?