Being Wise in Adversity
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
Wisdom teaches us how to handle adversity.
In his wonderful commentary on the book of James, Robert Johnstone wrote the following about meekness:
That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—that they bear wrongs, and exemplify the love which “seeketh not her own”—to a world that believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from Heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox. The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness.
Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s. One man has been shown us by God, in whom His ideal of man was embodied; and He, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: He for those who nailed Him to the tree prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” The world’s spirit of wrath, then, must be folly; whilst than a spirit of meekness like His, in the midst of controversy, oppositions, trials of whatever kind, there can be no surer evidence that “Jesus is made of God to His people wisdom” (The Epistle of James [Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978], 272-273).
Johnstone recognized more than a hundred years ago what we need to know today—that the wisdom of man is arrogant, conceited, and self-serving, whereas the wisdom of God is humble, meek, and non-retaliatory.
The contrast between false wisdom and true wisdom is crystal-clear. Be sure you handle adversity in a Christlike way, knowing that every detail of your life is under God’s sovereign control.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank the Lord for His example of how to respond to adversity (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24).
For Further Study
Read Philippians 2:1-11, applying Christ’s example to your life (vv. 1-5).