- a: the vault of the sky,
- b: the celestial abode of God, or
- c: the upper atmosphere.
In times past, the word welkin was used much in the same way that we use the word heaven today.
Now that we’ve got that figured out, do we understand what wisdom is? Most of us are familiar with King Solomon, who’s wisdom was second to none. Allow me to tell you a little-known story of his wisdom as displayed before some very disgruntled females:
Two women came before wise King Solomon, dragging between them a young man.
“This young man agreed to marry my daughter,” said one.
“No! He agreed to marry MY daughter.” said the other.
And so they began arguing until the king called for silence.
“Bring me the biggest sword,” said Solomon, “and I shall cut the young man in half. Each of your daughters shall receive a half.”
“Sounds good to me,” said the first lady.
But the other woman said, “Oh Sire, do not spill innocent blood. Let the other woman’s daughter marry him.”
The wise king did not hesitate a moment. “The man must marry the first woman’s daughter,” he proclaimed.
“But she was willing to have him cut in two!” exclaimed the king’s court.
“Indeed,” said wise King Solomon. “That shows she is the TRUE mother-in-law.”
Okay, okay…don’t think you’ll find that one in your bibles, but I had to throw it out there for my own loving mother-in-law (who has never tried to have me killed, at least that I’m aware of…) Now let’s get serious.
What is wisdom?
The book of James speaks of two different kinds of “wisdom”. One is the “wisdom” of the world, which consists of bitterness, envy, strife, confusion, and every evil work. (James 3:14-16) The other wisdom James mentions, and the only authentic one…the wisdom from above. The wisdom from above can truly be called The Wisdom of Welkin, for where does wisdom descend except from the very presence of God?
-Do you want to leave the world’s wisdom behind?
-Do you want to have authentic, godly wisdom?
See, the world tells us to “live in the now”.
Our God calls us to live in The WOW!
Every Christian must memorize and put in practice The Wisdom of Welkin…let’s get started!
The WOW is the blending of eight virtues which are listed in James 3:17:
“…the wisdom that is from above is first:
and easy to be intreated,
full of mercy
and good fruits,
and without hypocrisy.”
Proverbs 4:7 says that: Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Whew. If wisdom is so important that we are called to “get it with all our getting“, then I daresay we better start searching for it!
Are you and I Wise Women of Welkin? Let’s put ourselves to the test…
1. The Wise Woman of Welkin is Washed.
The wisdom that is from above is first…pure.
Purity is defined as being “free of any contamination; not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material”. Synonyms for “pure” include clean, unpolluted, untainted, wholesome, and flawless.
Ask yourself…would you consider yourself a pure woman in light of this definition? Can you say that you have never sinned, never had a wrong thought in your mind, nor an ugly word escape from your lips? Neither can I. The truth is, while every one of us came into this world pure…over time we have become tainted and twisted by the perversity that is all around us.
One might say it is impossible for a mere human to be free of contamination…to be flawless, yet here in our text we are called to be just that! It is a truth that we are incapable of being pure completely by our own merit. One only has to look at the world outside to see the level of “purity” that man lives in without God…alcoholism, drug addiction, fornication, lying, cheating, stealing, and the list goes on! On our own, we are filthy and contaminated.
Of course, God knew this would be so. That’s why he gave his only son to die, that through His sacrifice we might become pure. When we submit ourselves to Jesus’ sacrifice (by being immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins), we take on Christ’s very nature and leave the impurity of our old life behind. I won’t spend long on this particular area, but if you have any questions on how to be saved, please refer to my article “Buy Four, Get One Free“.
Notice that our text says that the wisdom from above is first pure. You want to be wise? If you haven’t been purified than you have yet to begin The WOW process. It’s time to get purified…simple as that!
Yet…there is another side of the coin. What if we have been purified, but have since fallen away from God? What if we have allowed ourselves to become re-contaminated by the world?
James 4:8-10 says this:
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
If we have again become impure…what would God have us to do? Cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts. When he tells us to wash up, He’s not calling us to be baptized again. He’s calling us to change our actions (as symbolized by our hands) and change our desires (as symbolized by our hearts)! He wants to see true humility, a godly sorrow over our sin. Then He wants us to press on!
Psalm 119:9-11 says: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart have I sought You; Do not let me wander from your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”
If we want to keep ourselves pure, it’s going to take efforts on our part! We each must identify exactly what our sin struggles are, and look for ways to replace that sin with an alternative behavior that is righteous. Are you a woman who struggles with gossip? Start looking for encouraging things to say about people, and say them – unabashedly! Maybe you battle with complaining. Search for silver linings in each and every situation! It’s not enough to say “I’m going to stop doing such-and-such starting today”…if you don’t find something positive to do with your leanings, you’re going to fall right back into temptation.
Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It doesn’t say overcome evil by willing yourself to! It says overcome evil with good. We must be pro-active and determine how we are going to react to tempting situations before they arise. Then when the situation comes, we will be prepared, which ultimately means we will be much more apt to win out against our sin.
Surround yourself with those who will help you to abstain from evil. Pray, and ask God to help you to truly want a pure lifestyle. Lastly (and I can not stress this enough) – READ YOUR BIBLE. It contains the vital nutrients we need so that we can have the strength to persevere.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee. – Proverbs 2:10-11
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, then be washed.
2. The Wise Woman of Welkin is Withdrawn.
The wisdom that is from above is then…peaceable.
Usually when we think of the word withdrawn we think of it as a description for a reclusive person…someone who keeps to themselves. However, the “withdrawn” that I am referring to is the past tense of the base word “withdraw” (to remove or take away something from a particular place or position).
If we wish to be wise, we must know when to withdraw ourselves from a particular place or position. Many times in life we might find ourselves in a predicament where someone is angry with us, or we are angry with them. There is such a thing as a justified, righteous anger, but let’s face it – most of the time we’re just plain mad because we didn’t get our way, or someone else’s wants clashed with our own. This leads us to all kinds of foolish behavior.
James 1:20 warns us that…The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
If you are a woman given to anger – watch out! Situations that will try the hostile temper are around every corner. Now who do we ladies tend to take our anger out on most often? That’s right – our husband…our kids…those of our home. Yet this is not how it should be! If we are wise, we will make our homes the place where we practice peace on a daily basis.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. – Proverbs 11:29
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. – Proverbs 14:1
The crucial first step to having peace within the home is to cultivate a spirit of patience. If we truly love others, we will be slow to be angry with them. We will give the benefit of the doubt when we don’t know all the facts. Lastly (and this is a big one, ladies) – we will close our mouths if our mouths are being ungodly.
The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischevious madness. – Ecclesiastes 10:12-13
The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the *froward tongue shall be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh *frowardness. – Proverbs 10:31-32 (*froward = difficult to deal with, contrary)
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, then withdraw yourself.
3. The Wise Woman of Welkin is Winsome.
The wisdom that is from above is…gentle.
When I first started looking into our James 3:17 passage, I had a bit of a hard time differentiating between “peaceable” and “gentle”. They seem at face value to be nearly identical, but they are in fact virtues all their own.
While being peaceable is described as being “inclined to avoid argument or violent conflict”, gentleness goes the extra mile. Gentleness doesn’t only avoid negativity, but also seeks positivity. A gentle woman will be a winsome one…(cheerful…pleasant…appealing.)
One must know peace before they can know gentleness. First, we learn how to subdue our attitudes by self-control. Then when we have practiced this, we will begin to move on to even greater things. Remember earlier when we talked about overcoming evil with good? Withdrawal is the removal of evil in our hearts, while winsomeness is the replacement of that evil!
When a wise woman is inclined to dishonor her husband, she quickly finds a way to honor him instead. When a wise woman is inclined to belittle her son or daughter for a shortcoming, she quickly finds a way to praise a strength of theirs instead. When a wise woman is inclined to give someone a piece of her mind, she gives them a piece of her heart instead!
Gayle D. Erwin, author of “Spirit Style” says this on the virtue of gentleness:
Gentleness is not apathy, but is an agressive expression of how we view people. We see people as so valuable that we deal with them in gentleness, fearing the slightest damage to one for whom Christ died. To be apathetic is to turn people over to mean and destructive elements, to truly love people causes for us to be agressively gentle.
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. – Proverbs 12:18
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, be winsome.
4. The Wise Woman of Welkin is Won Over.
The wisdom that is from above is…easy to be intreated.
What is your response to constructive criticism, and/or rebuke? A wise woman knows that she doesn’t have the corner on perfection. She wants to be told when she is out of line! If we are wise, we will be “easy to be intreated”. In other words, we won’t have to be begged to listen to sound judgment, but will be easily won over.
Charles Caleb Colton is quoted to have said:
There is this difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man, really is so; but he that thinks himself the wisest, is generally the greatest fool.
How true that is! God’s word urges those who would be wise to listen to the wisdom of other christians.
My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding. – Proverbs 5:1
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. – Proverbs 22:17
To “bow the ear” indicates that we are to humble ourselves in the face of wisdom. Only a foolish woman gets angry and defensive when reprimanded. Consider this contrast between the worldly and the wise:
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. – Proverbs 23:9
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. – Proverbs 1:5
It’s nothing to be ashamed of to realize that we don’t know it all! In fact, the more we are willing to learn, the wiser we will be.
Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. – Proverbs 9:8-9
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, be won over.
5. The Wise Woman of Welkin is a Waiver.
The wisdom that is from above is…full of mercy.
Are you a merciful woman? The act of showing mercy has been defined this way: “it is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.
That hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it? Mercy (or waiving) is an act that says “I could really lay it on you, but I’m going to rise above”.
We girls are strange creatures…we can be the most merciful people you’d ever meet, but we could also stab someone in the back without much prompting. Why is this? I believe it is because we view mercy as a feeling instead of a choice. (I’m in a good mood today, you know what? I’m going to let you slide this time…but don’t mess with me if I’m in crazy mode)
What if God showed us mercy the same way we show to others? (I’ll let you in on a little secret: He will)
The first portion of James 2:13 warns: He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy…
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. – Proverbs 11:17
The fact of the matter is that we are to forgive in the same way as the Lord forgives…and when He forgives, it is completely.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. – Hebrews 8:12
This goes against our worldly nature to hold grudges and get even. We are called to give grace and this involves letting things go!
Now there is a balance to this. We are not to show mercy in the sense that we make ourselves a waiver of unrepented sin. God Himself does not turn a blind eye to those who would wish to be forgiven while still in the wrong. There must be a proper application of mercy and truth. Give mercy, yes. Forgive, and let dead dogs lie. Yet make it clear that grace requires change. Godly forgiveness says “your sin is in the past, it’s forgotten. Now go thy way, and sin no more“…
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. – Proverbs 16:6
Mercy and truth are met together, righteouesness and peace have kissed each other. – Psalms 85:10
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, be a waiver.
6. The Wise Woman of Welkin is a Worker.
The wisdom that is from above is…full of good fruits.
If we wish to be wise, we will be diligent in working for the Lord. The wise woman is no couch potato. While there is a time for a healthy recharge, I think most of us tend to lean towards the unhealthy extreme of spending too much time relaxing. I don’t mean by sitting in front of the tube all day scarfing down bon bons…(because really, who does that?!) I mean that maybe we’re not using our time in ways that build our faith or the faith of others. If we have five minutes to ourselves, do we…
A. Catch up on some Bible reading?
B. Pen some encouraging words to a friend who’s having a hard time?
or C. Mindlessly surf Facebook?
We all would like to say A or B, but what is the reality in our days? I’m not saying these things to condemn. In fact, Facebook and other social media can be productive tools for interacting with others and sharing the Lord with people. Let’s just consider our motives. I know it’s not fun to hear, but life is not all about having fun. We must keep our priorities in the right order: God first, others second, self last.
We all know Proverbs 6:6: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.
He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster. – Proverbs 18:9
Being slothful in our christian walk is a great waste. A waste of our time and a waste of our talents. God has given us each gifts that are to be used to further His kingdom! We only have so much time in which to put them to use. Let’s not spend our time on things that amount to little value.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. – Psalms 90:12
Consider the implications of the word “apply”. One definition is to give full attention to, or work hard towards an intended goal. To apply can also mean to “put on”, as in applying a band-aid to a wound. (In other words, we are to be sticking our hearts on wisdom.)
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. – Matthew 24:45-47
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, be a worker.
7.The Wise Woman of Welkin is (not) Withheld
The wisdom that is from above is…without partiality.
Are you allowing human bias to hinder your voice of wisdom? Don’t. God’s wisdom knows no partiality. The wise woman will not be withheld! I have heard time and time again people scoffing at wisdom because they are prejudiced against the source. Some people will try to squash your light because of your race, your financial status, your age, or something else that they regard as inferior. This has literally been going on since the dawn of creation. (Think Cain and Abel. Cain regarded his younger brother as inferior when in reality he should have been listening to him!)
Need I mention The Good Samaritan, who regardless of his race was wise? (Think about it: he was peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy, full of good fruits, etc!) There would be those in his day that would scoff at him and say a Samaritan could not be wise. Yet his actions speak for themselves.
How about financial status? There are those that think poor equals foolish and ignorant. Is this true? Not in God’s eyes!
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. – Ecclesiastes 4:13
Ecclesiastes 9:14-16 records this touching story: There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great *bulwarks against it (a *bulwark is a defensive wall): Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
How sad it is that some can not recognize wisdom when they see it.
I have also often heard people talk about how age and experience alone bring wisdom. It is commonly believed that the younger you are, the more foolish you must be. Is this true? Not in God’s eyes!
Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12
And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion. – Job 32:6-10
Wisdom comes from God’s word. I have known in my own lifetime people who were old and foolish, and I have met young people that showed remarkable wisdom. Don’t let your age define you. Rather let God’s word live through you no matter how old you are!
…God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to counfound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. – 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, don’t be withheld.
8. The Wise Woman of Welkin is (not) Wishy-Washy.
The wisdom that is from above is…without hypocrisy.
Now we come to our last virtue, which is in a way the summation of all other virtues. If we have passed every single test, yet fail in this one respect…well, we’ve got a problem.
Hypocrisy is “a pretense of having a virtuous character, religious beliefs, morals, principles, etc. that one does not really possess.” It’s essentially being two-faced. It’s acting one way in public while another behind closed doors. I’m pretty sure we’re all guilty of this one…
Here’s the heart of the matter. What is the purpose for the righteousness that we’re working towards? Is it so we can “feel good about ourselves”? Is it to impress other people? Or is it for the glory of God? If it is truly for God that we are trying to attain a better life, then we will be consistent in our behavior.
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. – Jeremiah 9:23-24
What glory is it to God if I am peaceable to the cashier at Wal-Mart, but a bitter nag towards my husband?
What glory is it to God if I am gentle with the children in Sunday School, but always yelling at my own?
Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts. – Psalms 27:3
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit. – Proverbs 14:8
It’s very easy to fool others and even ourselves into believing that we’re living for God…but are we? The proof will be in how we act when we think no one is watching. (Yet God is)
Remember Ephesians 6:6: Not with eyeservice as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
Let us be like David, who says this in Psalms 101:2: I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
If you want to “W.O.W.” the Lord, don’t be wishy-washy.
In conclusion: today is the day to start living in The WOW.
Be won over.
Be a waiver.
Be a worker.
(Don’t) be withheld.
(Don’t) be wishy-washy.
Let us seek wisdom with all our being, so that we might reflect The Lord’s character as noted in Proverbs 8:14:
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
God bless, and take a chill pill!
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.