13 If you are wise, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about them, then you will be truly wise! 14 And by all means don’t brag about being wise and good if you are bitter and jealous and selfish; that is the worst sort of lie. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, inspired by the devil. 16 For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.
I love how the Holy Spirit brings about an emotional association to draw a spiritual connection. The passage in James gives clear meaning to Godly wisdom, Christian living, and Christ-serving. This passage also clearly describes what worldly wisdom looks like and where it comes from – the devil himself!
However, before I could dig into the richness of this passage, I found myself staring at the name “James” – the title of this Epistle. Why? Well, it’s my first name you see. My family jokes that I have an alter ego, and his name is “James.” The name itself brings forth countless stories from my past.
Let me clarify, before my encounter with Jesus and spiritual deliverance, I would most certainly say the enemy used past hurts, rejection, and insecurities to build this alter ego of pride, quick anger, and attitude. This “alternative-self” was beginning to mirror the world more and more while the enemy worked to kill, steal, and destroy through countless lies. Sound familiar?
Sadly, many believers are living the same way today. Songs of freedom ring loudly from their lungs while strife, hatred, gossip, and enmity thrive in the darkest of their souls.
The Bible is very clear about this type of living:
1 Corinthians 3:19, because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches wise men in their own clever traps.”
Job 5:13, He catches wise men in their own clever traps. And the plans of those who try to trick others are swept away.
Job 37:24, That is why people honor God. He does not respect those who say they are wise.
Proverbs 3:7, Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong.
Isaiah 5:21, How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise. They think they are clever.
Ecclesiastes 10:2-3, A wise man’s heart leads him to do right, and a fool’s heart leads him to do evil. You can identify a fool just by the way he walks down the street!
The hardest part to swallow is knowing I used to be that person; the very one being inspired by the devil himself [James 3:15] through jealously, envy, and selfishness. Yet, praise God for redemption, mercy, and grace! Also, I’m truly thankful for sealing old wounds. Only Christ’s blood can do such a miraculous thing. Now, my alter ego is nothing more than a testimony of God’s mercy and grace, which is used to draw others to the Healer!
It’s time that everyone break the chains through Christ’s powerful blood.
Topic: Living in Worldly Wisdom
You entered into vulnerability as a skilled hunter; your dagger of deception continues to penetrate the blind and weak. Your backhanded sweetness traps your prey and you sing over them with false reinforcement. You left your teethmarks in my back from endless gossip as I tried to escape but the healed scars now testify to His greatness and your failed attempts. You store praise for selfish gain but your heart is growing paranoid. You trample the truth through your hardened heart and toss the Word onto the ground. You slither into rest with pride as your headrest and bitterness as your pillow. Unforgiveness and selfishness blanket you into false comfort. Until…you awaken in full bondage!
Challenge: May we truly live out James 3:17-18. May we be loving, courteous, patient, merciful, gentle, sincere, peaceful, and forgiving. Then bask in your harvest of goodness!