The wisdom to live in healthy and wholesome families comes from God. It’s not an accumulation of a vast collection of facts and figures nor is it the piling on of experiences, one after another. Whereas knowledge and experience 16 come clean2help serve us in life, wisdom from above is only acquired from above. The beginning of wisdom, the Bible teaches, is “fear of the Lord.” It begins with a humble recognition of the supremacy of God and the sub ordnance of man. James in 3:17, describes this heavenly wisdom. He says, “…the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

The wisdom upon which we can build healthy family relationships as well as healthy relationships with others begins with purity. When we think of this concept we mostly think of our sexual conduct. It’s interesting that wisdom is “first of all” pure. It begins with it. Purity opens the channel to God’s wisdom. We cannot be what God wants us to be if we’re not willing to put away sexual sin. Sexual sin will always keep us from God and God from us. In Chapter 4, James urges his readers to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Yet he adds immediately the procedure that’s necessary for an honest open communion with God. He says, “cleanse your hands…” Hand washing was a coming clean, confession and repentance, for sins already committed. If we’re going to open a channel to God through which His wisdom can flow into our lives and families, we must come clean of sexual impurity.

Yet it’s not enough to stop a sinful conduct. It’s also a matter of the heart and mind. James goes on in Chapter 4 and adds to his exhortation. He says, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.” The prominence of pornography in today’s world corrupts our hearts and minds and bars our contact with God. No one can draw near to God with unclean hands or an unclean mind. The wisdom we need to live healthy and happy lives evades us at every turn. It only comes from above and one cannot connect with God with impure lives and impure minds. We are all so tempted to divorce our private thought lives from our religious lives and hope that never the twain shall meet. But God allows no such bifurcation of our lives.