This semester’s chapel and discipleship group theme “Wisdom from Above” is taken from the book of James, a book so practical it has been described by a well-known theologian as “Proverbs dressed up in New Testament clothes.” Laymen have also long regarded James as one of the most applicable New Testament books, since it offers wisdom about day-to-day life. As college students, we can be especially thankful for such sensible guidance as we slowly make our way into new careers and find ourselves in complex stages of life.
Today’s Christian student is under constant mental pressure. With full class loads, swarms of social media notifications, news updates, deadlines, social obligations and extracurricular activities, keeping a godly focus can feel almost impossible. More than anything, we, as students, need to direct our focus upwards to find biblical wisdom rather than being bogged down with earthly snares.
By taking a look at the world in which we live, it’s easy to see the mess worldly wisdom makes. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not,” (James 4:1-2).
James draws a stark contrast between this failed attempt at wisdom and true, godly wisdom. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy,” (James 3:17).
Things like controlling our speech, helping the less fortunate and respecting all people regardless of social status should all be a part of every Christian’s lifestyle. We should seek peace over arguing, submit to those in authority and actively flee temptation. Ultimately, true humility is the key, as we are reminded in (James 4:6), “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Finally, the discipleship group study guide reminds us that James’ audience was financially poor, emotionally frustrated and relationally confused. The book of Acts tells us that these people had been driven far away from the comforts and familiarity of home. Overwhelmed college students can take heart knowing that James was writing with people like us in mind, and there is hope and peace to be found, if we only ask. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
The Collegian staff is excited to see the student body grow and mature through this focus on biblical wisdom. We encourage the student body to delve into this down-to-earth epistle and truly apply its principles to everyday life. While it is easy to try to handle the stress and hardships of life in our own strength, true success and joy can only be found with wisdom from above.