Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
I remember arriving at my first Driver’s Ed class and being thrilled to discover the car I would be learning to drive was a Volkswagen Bug. My parents had the same stick shift VW at home, and I knew I was already way down the road, so to speak! I had spent hours driving in our neighborhood, learning to back up and pull in without popping the clutch too quickly and stalling. Frankly, I was ready to go.
I slipped into the driver’s seat, my instructor in the seat next to me. I pushed in the clutch, started the engine, put the car in first gear, pressed the gas pedal, eased off the clutch, and away we went. Suddenly the car screeched to a halt. I looked over and discovered that my instructor had a set of brakes on his side of the car—something my wife has wanted for years!
He looked at me and said, “Young man, we’re not here to race anybody . . . you’re gonna learn to drive according to my rules.”
Frankly, learning to walk as a Christian is much like learning to drive. We have to do it by His rules.
As you grow in your faith
, your understanding and application of the Bible is constantly tested and sharpened. Like driving, the scenery’s always changing. You not only have to keep your eye on the road but on others who are sharing the road with you. Walking with Christ isn’t for cowards!
Maybe that’s why so many people prefer to stay in the garage. We learned to drive; we have our license. We’ve earned the right to get behind the wheel. And that’s good enough . . . we’ll let someone else do all the driving.
James is telling us here that in order to grow up in Christ we have to take what we learn from God’s Word out onto the open road. Drivers don’t show people they are good drivers by flashing a driver’s license; they show it by driving. In the same way, Christians don’t show their faith by talking about the date they came to Christ—they show it by doing good works and by doing those works in the gentleness of wisdom.
Wisdom is really the key point, by the way. You can look around and find some really good people who aren’t believers. Many of them are humanitarians, soldiers, doctors, counselors. Some are better at doing good than Christians are!
But the difference is one day they will all throw their good works at Christ’s feet and say, “Look what I’ve done! This is why I deserve to be in heaven!” And Christ will stun them by saying, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you” (Luke 13:27).
The truth is unbelievers are not motivated by the Spirit of God. No matter what they do, they are doing good works so that people will see their good works and glorify them or, perhaps, they will simply feel better about themselves. Christians do good works in humility, knowing that people will look at those works and glorify their Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). And James considers this the life of wisdom.
The more we take our faith out of the garage and onto the highway, the more opportunities we’ll have to say, “Look what a great Savior I serve!”
So live wisely today, friend. Let the world see our good works, and then let them hear us return the glory to Whom it belongs . . . it may surprise us how much God will use us when we refuse to accept the credit.
Have you been accepting too many compliments on your own lately? Do you need the reminder to give the glory to God? Ask Him today to give you the wisdom and humility needed to make a real difference in the world.
Read John 3:25–30
and stand amazed at the humility of one of Israel’s greatest prophets, John the Baptist.
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