Remember yesterday was all about what True Wisdom looks like and I made the comment that James likely meant that there are examples of ‘wise and intelligent’ people who have a wisdom that is not TRUE. Well, here we are. James is going to get right to the point on what wisdom is that is counter to True.
14 But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). 16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. James 3:14-16 [AMP]
Unlike a wisdom executed in through commendable life that produces the fruit of good works through quiet humility, James talks here about wisdom drawn against goodness, driven through jealously and contention in our heart. James tells us that this is in defiance to of and false to the Truth. There is nothing about this ‘superficial wisdom’ that is from our Father in Heaven…it is earthly, secular, unspiritual, and can even be demonic.
I am immediately brought to my current work environment. I work with insanely smart people, but they are often driven by wanting to be in the level of their career. This aspirational drive to pursue earthly greatness is most times driven out of envy of those who are either in a place someone wants to be, or just selfish ambition born of greed. James tells is that where this kind of directed wisdom is executed; there will be a wake of unrest, disharmony, and rebellion. In the case of my current group, can also be manifested in cutting corners and driving subordinate employees too hard and putting the team through unhealthy marches and gauntlets.
I needed to hear this today because I must resist in my sinful thoughts that can manifest in these actions and pursue good works soaked in quiet humility. When I have sought and exercised True Wisdom, I have found that in the workplace, this can be one of the greatest witnesses of the Grace, Mercy, and Love of Jesus and often produces opportunity to share why I choose to operate the way I do. Opportunities to share what the God of the Bible has done in my life and how He has changed my heart.