I’ve been meaning all week to post about our most recent passage in James. I’ve been trying to think of some interesting way of framing it so that it really packs a punch. But I keep coming back to the fact that this passage just speaks for itself.
James 3:13-18 speaks of two kinds of wisdom. Verses 14 and 15 speak of the wisdom from below. It is characterized by bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. It is earthly, natural and demonic. James tells us in verse 16 that the wisdom of the world leads to disorder and every evil thing.
Verses 17 and 18 speak of wisdom from above. This wisdom is characterized by purity, peacemaking, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy and good fruits, single-mindedness, and being free from hypocrisy. Verse 18 says that the wisdom from above leads to peace.
James is continuing a theme that goes all the way back to the first chapters of Genesis. God said to Adam, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” A few verses later the serpent says to Eve, “You surely will not die!” Once again we have two kinds of wisdom: one from above leading to life and peace and one from below leading to disorder and every evil thing.
How would you characterize your life today? Would you say that your life is filled with peace that is the fruit of righteousness? Or is your life filled with conflict and disorder? We can know the “peace that passes understanding” if we repent of following the wisdom of this world and set our minds on things above.