Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
Verse thirteen really puts into action what James spoke about in chapter two. Which is a genuine faith produces genuine works. Works that are filled with meekness and humility. Works stemming from an understanding of who we are in relation to who Jesus is and what He has done for us. This is the fine line that distinguishes faith from works, and it’s important we understand it clearly. What James is explaining to us is that a true follower of Jesus has a love for Christ and a love for others. And because of that love and a heart given over to the Lord, our hearts can now see needs that were not visible to us before. Needs which now lay before us and pull at our hearts. And because of the needs before us and the love in our hearts, we can no longer bear to do nothing. This love given to us by God, now turns into a strong desire. And this desire, when combined with following the direction given by the Holy Spirit, naturally produces works pleasing to God, and why is that? Because this naturally produces acts of love, done out of our love for the Lord.
And this produces acts of kindness, stemming from the supernatural love He has given us for others. And that’s what James means when he speaks of works pleasing to God and man. James is telling us that a man of God who is righteous in the eyes of God relies on wisdom and direction given by God. This is possible because of the humility and meekness produced in our hearts by the work of God. And with humility comes the ability to understand and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is because God changes us through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. We refer to this as the process of sanctification, and it’s this process of spiritual growth which God uses to change our hearts. God produces in us meekness, gentleness, love and humility which is a sign of self-control. A change brought about by God who has made us a new creation in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is part of the gift given to us by God because of the salvation we received. And they are gifts which become evident in our day to day conduct and walk as children of God. Changes which are seen by those around us, and as James tells us, it’s at this point our faith becomes evident by our works of love for Christ and others.