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.
In a mere six verses James challenges our view of wisdom. He effectively dismantles our erroneous and destructive understanding of wisdom and replaces it with a vivid and clear understanding of true wisdom. He challenges us to identify ourselves as those who are wise in the world’s eyes and then lifts us to a new and more complete understanding of how the true man of faith will perceive and experience the wisdom from God.
Reading James 3:13-18 should cause us to be aware that what is often perceived as wisdom might not be true wisdom. As believers we cannot simply agree with the way in which the world conducts itself. We are now aware of a better way. We know a better wisdom. We know a better Source of wisdom.
We need to alter our worldview to align with the truth regarding wisdom. We need to see the natural tendency to pursue earthly wisdom and reject it as demonic. We need to look to the Giver of wisdom and ask from a faith-filled heart for the wisdom from above. We must let that wisdom fill our deeds so that our faith is made evident to all through our daily interaction with each other.
Instead of being depressed during the trials of life we will then be joyful. Instead of claiming a dead faith, we will live out our faith. Instead of treating each other based on preferences, we will treat all as Jesus did. Our tongue will be pure, our assemblies will be peaceable, and we will experience the grace from God when we submit to Him. As a result of this wisdom filled life, we will experience the power of prayer and the salvation of souls.