Key Verse: James 3:13-17
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’
The New Living translation uses a phrase in this verse – ‘live a life of steady goodness’ – to remind us that we need to live well, to live wisely, to live graciously, and to live humbly. Wisdom isn’t just the accumulation of knowledge; it’s the ability to put that accumulated knowledge into practice! James always emphasizes self-control as needing to win out over selfishness or self-interest. There are two kinds of wisdom in this world: earthly, selfish, destructive wisdom and life-giving, fruitful wisdom that comes from Heaven. It is easy to allow our judgment to be clouted by envy and selfishness, but James reminds us that it is a humble and good life that is evidence of true wisdom.
Pray and Respond:
Are there areas in your heart where you are holding on to bitterness or envy? Be honest with God, and ask him to give you his humble, Heavenly wisdom.
Before responding to a difficult situation or decision, ask yourself: Is my reaction pure from selfish ambition? Is is peace-loving and considerate, or is it selfish and bitter? Is my reaction full of mercy and good fruit, or envy and insincerity? Ask God to help guide your thoughts, feelings and actions with his perfect, life-giving wisdom.
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