When we think of wisdom, we usually think of the mind. We might see wisdom as more practical and everyday than knowledge. I once was taught this simple definition: wisdom is knowledge applied. Still, in this way of thinking wisdom is a matter of the mind.
I am struck by how earthy and everyday James’ description of wisdom is in today’s passage:
Who is wise and discerning among you? Such a person should, by their upright behavior, display their works in the humility of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and contention in your hearts, don’t boast and tell lies against the truth. This isn’t the wisdom that comes from above. . . . The wisdom that comes from above is first holy, then, peaceful, gentle, compliant, filled with mercy and good fruits, unbiased, sincere. (3:13-15a, 17)
Chock full of action words, James describes wisdom in 3:13-18 as much as a matter of the hands as a matter of the mind. Much like faith and love in chapter 2, wisdom is what one does and does not do. Wisdom is seen and identifiable. As practical as it can be, wisdom is how we treat others. It is behavioral.