This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. - James 3:15
The wisdom of the world is self-reliant and focused on accomplishments. It does not recognize that wisdom is given to us by God, but believes it is something to be gained through more education, by climbing more rungs on the corporate ladder, by increasing our power. True wisdom cannot be acquired - it is only received as a gift.
The wisdom of the world does not have God’s eternal perspective of our lives, but is limited and focused on the moment. If you are struggling to see God in your trials, if you fail to see the Word of God as the most important light, if you show partiality, if your work does not demonstrate your faith, if you have trouble controlling your tongue, your wisdom is from this world - it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. It will destroy you.
The wisdom of the world is subtle and deceptive, and can be impossible to separate out from the wisdom of His Word. Your wisdom comes from where you spend the majority of your time and energy. If it’s in the world, then your wisdom is from the world. If the majority of your time is spent in the Word of God and with fellow believers lifting the name of Jesus, then your wisdom is from above. If your wisdom is self-promoting, then it’s from the world. If your wisdom humbly points to your Creator, then it’s from above.
The reason James stresses the contrast between the two types of wisdoms harkens back to the beginning of this chapter. He began with a warning to teachers, and he’s still addressing them here. Teachers share their wisdom with others through instruction. If you are a teacher ~ and we already discussed that anyone sharing the Gospel is essentially a teacher ~ then you are handing over your wisdom to your students. Be sure your wisdom is from above and not of the world. If you are teaching others, you should be spending more time and energy in His Word than you do anything else. Otherwise, your worldly wisdom will not only destroy you, but it will also destroy those over whom you have influence.
That realization should increase the weight and the impact of your teaching. James is addressing all twelve tribes in this letter because he wants to reach the entire church with this critical information. He sees the division and dissension in the church, and he knows it is the wisdom of the world that is causing the destruction. It’s interesting to me that all these years later, his letter is still so relevant and the destruction is still happening. My greatest desire is to unite the church with strong teachings of His Word, and the only way to ensure I do that, is to spend more time in His Word than I do in anything else.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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