Two Kinds of Wisdom
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But 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. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Bill was certain he’d get the promotion. Everyone said that he was the right person for the job. So when it was given to one of his closet friends, Bill’s pride and his plans for the future were crushed. He struck back by trying to undermine his friend’s reputation. When the tactic failed, he thought it wise to draw away sympathetic friends into a dissident group. Bill liked the attention he was receiving, but it wasn’t long before his jealousy poisoned those relationships too.
The saddest part of this story is that Bill and his friends are Christians. Hundreds of churches and ministries have been torn apart by pride, envy and ambition—all disguised as wisdom. James declares that his “wisdom” is from the devil and leads to “disorder and every evil practice.” Thankfully, in time Bill became aware of his sin and humbly repented.
Popular wisdom says that in order to succeed you’ve got to push your way to the top, but his is not God’s wisdom. God resists the proud and promotes the humble [1 Peter 5:5]. He’s more concerned about our character than about the knowledge we possess or the success we make in our lives.
In what ways have you allowed pride and selfish ambition to undermine your relationships? What steps can you take to correct them?