Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daily - 7/17/08

James 3:13-18

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

15 Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.

18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

One danger of the pursuit of wisdom (and I personally include "intellectualism" with that) is the development of selfish ambition. Per James, wisdom of this kind does not come from above and is earthly – even demonic. The Father of Lies has many weapons to use against us. One such weapon is to tempt our intellectual pride. If you feel like you are somehow better than someone else because of intellectual prowess, selfish ambition takes hold. Per verse 16, this can lead to bad things.

Verses 17 and 18 describe "wisdom from above" as peaceable, gentle, compliant, and full of mercy and good fruits. Such wisdom is a gift from God, and is not the result of some intellectual greatness that resides within us. I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced such wisdom, but if I ever do, I hope that I will remember where it comes from.