Summary: What wisdom are you displaying as you live your life?
TWO KINDS OF WISDOM
Two Kinds of Wisdom
Jas 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Jas 3:15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
Jas 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Jas 3:17 But 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.
Jas 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James says first of all who is wise and understanding among you? Many times we might look at those who have high gpa as being wise. Those that have many degrees as being wise. Counselors, psychologists as being understanding. They are not those that God would consider as being wise and understanding. Who are the wise and understanding? Those that are living a good life. Many may few the good life as fishing with the boys, drinking their favorite drinks with a woman they are not committed to etc. Many have different versions of the good life. The worlds good life is far different than Gods definition of a good life. A life considered good by God is a life characterized by fearing God, turning from evil, seeking firs His kingdom. It’s not about activities. It’s about a relationship with God and that’s what makes a persons life good.
These deeds must also be done in a particular way, "in the humility that comes from wisdom" (v.13). Humility was a despised grace to the Greeks. They judged it to be an utterly servile posture, and even today how few role models are men of humility. But every Christian is to be characterised by this grace, and it is to be genuine meekness. Many did deeds but they were far from being humble. There was the Pharisee in Lk 18 who stood up and prayed about himself.
Lk 18:11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.
Lk 18:12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
Lk 18:13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
Lk 18:14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
He had deeds but they weren’t done in humility. Or what about how the Pharisees prayed. Jesus said they did so to be seen by men. Pride.
These were people who prayed standing up, and on street corners, and when they fasted they put white ash powder on their faces so that others knew, and when they gave to the poor they rattled their donations as they placed them in the temple so that everyone could hear. There are people today who let the world know how hard life is for them, by what ’good’ they are bravely doing. James says that the wise Christian shows he is living the good life "by deeds done in ... humility." Jesus also said:
Mt 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
As disciples of Jesus our lives should be filled with good deeds. For Jesus said this is how you let your light shine. When people see the deeds they will praise the Father. When we do our deeds we do them in the humility that comes from wisdom. We don’t do good deeds in pride, arrogance, vain glory, selfish ambition but rather in humility recognizing that these are good works that God has for us to do. We are following the suffering, humble Savior and are motivated by Him in all we do.
Jas 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Jas 3:15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
Harbor defined as: maintain, to give refuge to, cherish. So if you are cherishing or giving refuge to bitter envy or selfish ambition in your hearts two things we do : boast about it or deny the truth. I think the latter is more of what we would do is deny the truth that bitter envy is there.