Summary: James tells us that there are two different wisdoms trying to control our lives one originates from Heaven above and the other is an earthly unspiritual wisdom.
The Two Wisdoms in the World- Which one do you follow?
Thesis: James tells us that there are two different wisdoms trying to control our lives one originates from Heaven above and the other is an earthly unspiritual wisdom.
Texts: James 3: 13-18 (NIV)
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But 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. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:13-18 (The Message)
Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Heres what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others throats.
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
Many today are in the pursuit of wisdom. They desire to be able to make right decisions that will affect their lives in a positive manner. They understand the key ingredient to have in their lives is this thing called wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to look at a situation and pick the correct way to handle it and therefore be in the position to reap the rewards of that wise decision.
But James tells us there is a problem with which wisdom you listen to and adhere to. Do you listen to wisdom from above which originates with God. He most likely thought of the Scripture in Proverbs 1:7 which reveals that the beginning of wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. Bill Hybels has this to say about how to attain true Biblical wisdom:
Do you want to begin the process of acquiring something that is worth much more than gold? You start by obtaining the knowledge that is most central to the deepest human needs, the knowledge that there is a God who is powerful and personal and head over heels in love with each and everyone of us, a God who has extended to us, through Jesus Christ his Son, the hand of forgiveness and grace. He says, Come on, take that hand, and I’ll help you make your life work. That is where we start. (24).
The other wisdom active in this world is the thought process generated by this world and influenced by the forces from below. This unspiritual wisdom leads to disorder and every evil practice. In other words those who live according to this wisdom or belief system will be in disarray and will be following the path of destruction. It’s path leads directly to the pit of Hell.
To make sure we are being influenced by the right kind of wisdom we need to go to school and discover what wisdom is controlling our lives. The best way to do this is to study the Scriptures and see what the School of Wisdom has to say about these two opposing mind sets.
So we need to explore another Book in the Bible called Proverbs a book that paints a clear picture of the two types of wisdom. One breeds people who are called wise the other breeds people who are called fools. One produces a life filled with eternal blessing the other breeds a life filled with everlasting curses. One will set you free the other will put you into bondage. One will give your life ultimate satisfaction the other will bring discontentment and lifelessness.
Bill Hybels observes this about the book of Proverbs:
What is wisdom? Wisdom is what is true and right combined with good judgment. Other words that fit under the umbrella of the Biblical concept of wisdom are discerning, judicious, prudent, and sensible. Not very glamorous words perhaps, but words you can build a life on.