Category Archives: Wise as serpents

Where is the Wise Leader We Need in America Today?


In this season of elections, candidates are trying to convince us that their characteristics are worthy of our vote.  Are they portraying the kind of wisdom we need in this time of history?

What is the Wisdom from Heaven?

James 3:17 is the Bible verse that describes wisdom from heaven.  The description breaks down and defines wisdom while providing a hierarchy and/or blueprint of how this wisdom is constructed.  This description is valuable because it is dynamic.  It reveals the ongoing action necessary to maintain and exhibit wise leadership without corruption that frequently defiles leaders.  Let’s look at the verse more closely:

:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  [NIV] 

We need to break this verse down piece by piece to catch the nuance locked within.   It describes a number of characteristics that the wisdom has.   

  • Wisdom is ranked first as described in the verse.  First of all pure:  free from carnality, faultless, clean, immaculate
  • Peaceable – loving peace, not squabbling or whiny
  • easily entreated – compliant, able to be persuaded [not closed-minded]
  • full of mercy  (eleos)– has manifest pity on those needing it and it has resources to fulfill those needs
  • good- pleasant    fruit – deeds (outcomes)
  • without partiality – unambiguous, without uncertainty  
  • without hypocrisy – sincere, not fake

 If these are the characteristics of leadership wisdom, what is the evidence of it?   We must return to verse 13 to find traits of this wise leader

What is the Evidence of a Wise Leader?

:13 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.  [KJV] 

  • endued with knowledge – has knowledge of an expert
  • good conversation – manner of life or lifestyle
  • meekness of wisdom (adding detail from Vines Expository Dictionary: The meaning of (prautes)  {Greek term} “is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity . . . It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power.”)

Therefore, before you cast your vote, ask yourself “do these candidates portray what I want to see?”

Rock of Offense

 Luke’s Gospel the 4th chapter illustrates offense in a very clear way as Jesus knew that the people of Nazareth bore some contempt that he would be bold enough and think highly enough of himself to make claims to some title or assume some kind of nobility due to the success he had in Capernaum. He quoted Isaiah and stated that he was the fulfillment of prophesy and that his personal calling was written by the great prophet many centuries before.
 The crowd responded by asking don’t we know this guy? Isn’t this Joseph’s son? They made themselves familiar to him thereby disavowing his claims but more importantly discounting the possibility that he could have been God-sent. This is an issue for modern Christians as we face the possibility of missing the blessings God intends for us by discounting those around us. Have you ever heard “This preacher is straight from the street, he used to date my cousin. I can’t believe a word he says . . . “ Anyone who would use this descriptive has been offended i.e. has created a way to stumble [and/or fall] because of an assumption created by virtue of their own thinking and reason.
 I Corinthians 13:7 states that love the love of God (Zoe love)  “believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things” which means that we believe the best in people, hope the best for them and deny that part of us that wants to belittle or negate what God can do in and through people.  Humans look for the worst in people and negate their positive aspirations.   Christ inspires us to hope for what people can be and expect that they can do more and better their service to God.
 This is a hard saying. So much so that when Jesus declared it to the people of Nazareth, they tried to throw him off a cliff.  Jesus understood the fervor that comes from this kind of offense, he admonished the disciples to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16-18  This admonition needs to be kept even as we walk with Him.  We will sometimes be exploited or abused by those around us and when we experience this, we need to be aware that it’s happening, but not necessarily recompense those who want to exploit us.  One of the most common tricks played on baby christians is for their leftover unsaved friends to say, “you’re no different from me . . . ”   Unfortunately, they take the role of our enemy to accuse us and to confirm our sense of guilt despite knowledge that Jesus has paid for our sins and forgiven us. They are offended with us and it is easier for them to keep things as they are than to walk through the struggle of church and personal growth.  We have to keep praying for them and for the Lord to keep us away from being offended. 
Watch for Rock of Offense Part 2!
For an exhaustive definition, review this link to

Vine, W. E. “Offence”, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 11 Apr 2012.