Pure Heart, Pure Wisdom

Michael Beck

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” (James 3:13,14)

James lamented that there were so few wise men in the church who were endued with knowledge. There is much amiss in the world around us. Correction is needed in society, in our homes, in our churches, in the body of Christ at large. God yearns to raise up those who can help others to see. But if any would be truly used of God in such a ministry of correction their spirit must first be cleansed of any and all bitterness, envy and strife. Only a pure fountain can bring forth pure words. A good tree brings forth good fruit, and out of a “good conversation” comes a wisdom that is heaven sent.

If we are to bring correction to others we must want words that come purely from God. We must be a channel of pure water, not fouled with anything of our own spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure and then it is peaceable. The words and actions of Jesus often did not bring peace. But the fault did not lie with Him. Christ did not minister from a contentious or bitter spirit. He was not envious of the Pharisees’ popularity. He did not seek the position of the Sadducees. His rebuke of them was from God and pure. He was God’s oracle and delivered nothing that was not of the Father.

May we ask God to examine our hearts and see if there is any hurtful way in us. God forbid that in supposedly wanting to help others, we damage them with unwise words. If we would minister purely, we must be cleansed of all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Filthiness of spirit is much more subtle than that of the flesh. Peter detected it in Simon Magus and told him that until his heart was cleansed he could have no part in the ministry. Simon did not repent and tradition tells us that he went on to become the church’s first heretic.

If we have bitter envying and strife in our hearts, may we not glory, and lie against the truth. God forbid that our ministry should be tainted in any way because our heart is not right in His sight. The Lord has need of us but we must take heed to ourselves as well as to our doctrine before He will use us. The fountain of our heart and the words in our mouth are always intimately connected. Desire a pure heart and pure wisdom.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.