God’s wisdom is not the same as the world’s wisdom. This fallen, sinful world tells us to always “look out for number one” and put ourselves first as much as we can. God tells us in His Word to put others before ourselves and to put Christ before everything. The world encourages us to “get ours” as much as possible, even if that means bending the rules and hurting others. The Bible tells us to be patient, continue doing what is right, and trust in God to help and protect us. The world encourages us to always want more and more so that we can be just like our neighbors, but the Bible tells us to be content or satisfied and happy with what we have. Worldly wisdom comes from the world’s current master, Satan, while biblical wisdom comes from the world’s ultimate Lord and King, God in heaven. The wisdom of the world leads us along the broad road to sin, death, and hell. The wisdom of God leads us along the narrow way of holiness and eternal life, both now and forever.
All of us must choose each day which wisdom to follow. Wisdom according to the Bible is not knowledge, but the application of that knowledge to our daily living. That’s why James tells us today that someone who claims to be a wise Christian should should “show it by their good life.” Those who live by biblical wisdom will “sow in peace” and “reap a harvest of righteousness.” In other words, their knowledge of God’s Word will direct their words and actions to be godly and lead over time to godly rewards of love, joy, and peace. However, those who live by the world’s wisdom will become selfish people who fall into “disorder and every evil practice,” which means that they will experience conflict and suffering.
So the real question is not if we have wisdom, but what type of wisdom do we have? My prayer is that we would all live by the wisdom of God’s Word, even when it is hard, and so enjoy the blessings of His peace.
The Text (James 3:13-18)
13 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.
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Questions to Think About
- Do you consider yourself to be wise? Why or why not?
- According to today’s passage, what is wisdom?
- Have you ever experienced bitterness or envy? When? What happened?
- Would others described you as peaceful, considerate, and submissive to authority? Explain.