Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. – James 3: 13-18
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. – Charles Spurgeon.
Spurgeon said it well, didn’t he? We all know people who have a lot of knowledge. They may even be correct, but are they dependent on man’s wisdom or God’s?
James describes man’s wisdom in a downward progression as “earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” Reliance on mankind’s wisdom defaults to jealousy and selfishness and the results are anything but Godly. But, the wisdom from above reveals the character of God – “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
James begins the passage above with a question regarding our personal wisdom. How often do we rely on our own common sense instead of God’s?