(James 3:14-16) – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (NKJV)
James had been talking about true wisdom in the previous verses, describing what it was. Just to make sure we didn’t miss the point, he then contrasts it by telling us what it is NOT, and what it results in.
He doesn’t beat around the bush either.
Earthly wisdom – first of all it is manifested as bitter envy and self-seeking (you know, looking out for “numero uno”…) Not only does it produce BAD behavior and motives, it is also sensual, which means devoid of spiritual quality, and purely devoted to the flesh. Oh yeah, it’s also demonic. DEMONIC. Any more questions?
Then comes the declarative statement: where envy and self-seeking exist (the product of fleshly wisdom), confusion and everything evil will also exist… not a little bit of evil or occassional evil… every evil thing.
That’s quite a list of BAD that comes along with human wisdom (as opposed to Godly wisdom which is manifested in humilty and good works). Not exactly the feel-good, politically-correct Joel Osteen version of calling it like it is. Unlike America’s favorite Pastor, James evidently WAS called to talk about sin, and the “negative”.
Godly wisdom: humility, good works.
Human wisdom: bitterness, envy, self-centeredness, boasting, lies, earthly, sensual, all evil, confusion and demonic.
Seems James is just too darn negative. Wouldn’t make it far today, would he? Examine your life by the set of criteria above… what do you see? Godly wisdom, or human? What changes can you make to improve things?
Lord God, help us to pray and ask you for Godly wisdom which you have promised to give abundantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.