Meditation Commentary on James 3:13-16
13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Within the last couple of weeks, I have really been desiring to gain an extra measure of wisdom – the kind that can only be granted by God Himself. I do not simply want to gain greater head-knowledge of the things of Christ, but want true understanding from the Lord. James 3:13-16 brings to light a number of rich insights related to wisdom and how Christians should conduct themselves.
We find in verse 13 that the Greek word for “conversation” is “anastrophe,” which also means “behavior.” It is clear that a truly wise person is well behaved and demonstrates humility and meekness.
It is quite eye-opening to read further in this passage and find an explanation of worldly wisdom. We see here that it is impossible to have wisdom from God if one’s heart is not right toward Him. A wise and Godly man will not allow jealously, envy, or strife to be harbored in his heart. Such a person only has wisdom that is of the world. In fact, the words used are, “earthly,” “sensual,” and “devilish.”
These verses bring to light the severity of envy and strife and the negative effect that they have on our lives. The Bible speaks of both of these time and time again. Proverbs says, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” In chapter 29 verse 22 of Proverbs, we see that “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”
In verse 16 of this passage, when it speaks of confusion, I believe that we will not only have mental confusion, but also spiritual confusion if we allow envy and strife to linger in our lives. It is nearly unbelievable how things such as these can have such a controlling influence on one’s life. Countless Christians are being tormented and their walk with God is being hindered by bitterness, greed and jealousy. Only with God’s help can we rid ourselves of these things and gain true wisdom from Him.