James describes these seven pillars of wisdom (James 3:17) and contrasts them to the wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil” (v. 15). First, wisdom is pure. Living a mixed, compromised lifestyle may appear smart, but it is not wise.
Second, wisdom is peace-loving. This attitude is in direct contrast to the world’s envy and selfish ambition, which results in “disorder and every kind of evil” (v. 16).
Third, wisdom is gentle. A wise person practices gentle courtesy and always considers the needs, desires, and feelings of others.
Fourth, wisdom is submissive. A person’s willingness to yield his will to the overall good of the family, community, or local church is a mark of true wisdom.
Fifth, wisdom is full of mercy and good fruit. A wise person will demonstrate obvious marks of goodness, charity, and forgiveness toward those who have injured him.
Sixth, wisdom is impartial, never valuing the face or status of someone instead of that person’s actual deed or need.
Finally, wisdom is sincere. A wise person is not hypocritical, but possesses a deep, inward authenticity. With him, what you see is what you get!
Establish your life on these seven pillars, and you will “plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (v. 18).