12 Heavenly VS Earthly Wisdom

James 3v13-18

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (ESV)

The problem of mankind: We are filled with jealousy and selfish ambition – due to the Fall we think that we are Gods. We have malice, ill will, vileness, disorder (turmoil) which come in the place of what God can give us: a harvest of righteousness sown in peace (v18). Imagine a world where man gives to both God and his fellow humans what is due to them. For this we need the wisdom that comes from above, which starts with the fear of God.

We see the following in our Scripture passage:

  1. The desire for wisdom implied (v13):
    Who is wise among you? You will see it by the demonstration of wisdom by:
    a) Good conduct (hands): Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.
    b) Gracious character (heart) with meekness (strength under control).
    c) Godly creed (mind): The fear of God (theology) which is the beginning of wisdom.

  2. The demonization of wisdom (v14):
    Narcissistic, earthly and carnal wisdom that results in disorder and vile practices.  It is void of wisdom (see Galatians 5v19).

  3. The delight of wisdom (v17):
    a) The source of wisdom: It is from above.
    b) The substance of wisdom: It is pure, peaceable, reasonable and merciful. It is good and what humanity needs.
    c) The soul of wisdom: Righteousness and peace.

The wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is seen in His parables, sermons and divine wisdom (see the Sermon on the Mount). The ultimate display of wisdom is the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 2v6-7).

We must seek the wisdom of God, not of the world!