Two Types of 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. James 3:14-17 NIV
Think about the last time your spoke out of jealousy or selfish ambition. Notice that I’m not asking you IF you’ve ever spoken out of jealousy or selfish ambition, but WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME? It is part of our fallen nature in a fallen world to to feel slighted or frustrated when others get what we feel like we deserve. This is the wisdom of man. The Bible tells us in James 3 that there are two types of wisdom:
There is the wisdom of man that is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” and full of “envy and selfish ambition.”
There is the wisdom of God, “the wisdom that comes from heaven, is first of all pure...”
Both types of wisdom have tremendous power. The wisdom of man leads to chaos and a despicable manner of living. Damaged relationships and painful fallouts are always the results of the wisdom of man.
Conversely, the wisdom of God builds up others and demonstrates mercy and grace. In the Scripture reference today, we see that the wisdom of God leads to good fruits. We all desire wisdom and we all are following one path or the other.
Here is the question to consider: “What path of wisdom are you following?” Are you following the wisdom of God, or are you following the wisdom of man? The answer to this all-important question isn’t hard to identify:
Are we producing “good fruit?” Fruit that comes from God’s wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, impartial and sincere.
Are we producing “bad fruit?” Fruit that comes from man’s wisdom produces bitter envy and selfish ambition.
To stand for the wisdom of God is increasingly counter-cultural in our world full of selfish ambition. There is no question that it takes faith to pursue the wisdom of God. Thankfully, James points to some of the “good fruit” that will come as we trust and believe that the wisdom of God truly is best: “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18
The world around us is desperately longing for peace. The wisdom of God brings peace in the midst of disorder to those who are searching for peace. While we are all surrounded by a cocophany of hatred, fighting, hostility and contempt, ask God for His wisdom to give you faith and the courage to stand as an example of His peace. Which wisdom will you choose?
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Cedarcrest Church
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