Monday, January 2

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13

“You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16); your actions say a lot about you.  Whether you intend it or not, your actions send a message to those around you.  They reveal the kind of person you are.  What do your actions say about you?  What kind of messages are you sending to those around you?

We could probably debate what “good conduct” really is; different people will have different ideas.  For me, it isn’t just “following the rules”, but doing good to others, or, at the very least, not causing any harm with your actions.  If what you say or do hurts someone else, or yourself, I don’t think you can classify it as “good conduct”, no matter what your motivations for it may be.

That is the other important thing about good conduct.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines conduct as “a mode or standard of personal behavior especially as based on moral principles”; the phrase “based on moral principles” implies that the “why” of your behavior is a part of your conduct as well as the “what”.  If you give a person food because your friends are watching and you want them to be impressed by your generosity, is that as “good” as doing it when no one is around, simply because that person is hungry and you want to help them?

It may not make a difference to the person receiving the food-whatever your motivations are, they’re getting fed-but to you, to your personal mental/emotional/spiritual health and well-being?  It makes a difference.  God wants you to be happy and healthy, in all ways possible; that means cleaning the inside of your cup as well as the outside, taking care all is right in your head and your heart as well as with your body.

How does this tie back into wisdom?  Is it wise to neglect even one aspect of your well-being?  But I think part of wisdom is also considering what the results of your actions may be; good actions are more likely to produce positive results than negative actions.  Therefore, wisdom will lead to good conduct.  The question I am left pondering is: does good conduct also lead to wisdom?

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