The bad in comparison to the good
The Apostle James starts out and warns that we should not have bitter envying or strife in our hearts. When we have selfish ambition especially in a boasting way we will fall because it is unavoidable. This is not a good combination and the Holy Spirit is not quiet about this subject. This precept even goes deeper because this wisdom does not come from heaven but is earthly, sensual and devilish because where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work.
James changes his tone to the exact opposite content for our lives. The Apostle writes that the wisdom that is from above is first pure then he lists seven Godly characteristics that stem from being pure. The seven good qualities that we are to have from God is peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
The Apostle highlights that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it if need be in this particular study in the Bible.
(14) "But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." James 3: 14 - 18.
We will not have the Spirit of the Lord on us if envying and strife is in us because these destructive emotions are opposed to the meekness of wisdom. The good or the bad can reside in our hearts but envy and true wisdom can not "Both" reside at the same time in our spirit. It is either one or another so we have to be proactive in our walk with Jesus Christ. If we are not envy and strife can slip in and we may not even realize it is happening.
The Apostle James lists the order of the bad and good. Envying is the very first ungodly emotion he writes about but what we need to understand is it excites strife. It does not just cause strife but it leads to vain glorying and lying but the result is it causes confusion and every evil work. The Apostle explains the domino effect because one sin begets another so this should make us think not to even commit the first transgression. Sin is greedy because it always desires more. Transgressions by nature have mischief in it and it will untimely lead into every evil work. This type of evil wisdom come from earthly principles because it is sensual, indulging the flesh and is devilish. If we choose to be lifted up with this wisdom according to this passage it will fall into the condemnation of the devil.
On the other hand a lovely picture of the wisdom from above is painted in verse seventeen and eighteen. Never forget that true wisdom from God is always a gift from Him and we can never conjuror this up in our own flesh. First James writes that it is pure without any kind of mixture that is from the world. If we are truly pure this holiness will be in our heart and life.
The next Godly characteristic the Apostle James writes about that is from above is peaceable. Those who are extra wise do everything they can to preserve this "Peace" that it may not be broken because it is so precious but on the other hand to make peace where it was lost so it may be restored in the Person of Jesus Christ. Heavenly wisdom allows people to be peaceable because of our decision to sow this wonderful Godly characteristic in a world filled with strife. This is an opportunity to show the Prince of Peace who is Jesus Christ.
The next word James mentions is gentle. This Godly gift is never harsh or loses it's temper. For example if we are in a conversation it is never rude or overbearing. Sometimes in political debates over here in America if there are free for all rules one candidate will do nothing but interrupt his or her opponent and people are foolish enough to hale that person as the winner. I see nothing but arrogance and ignorance which is just the opposite of gentleness. I notice this Godly characteristic right away and am very drawn to this person.
Heavenly wisdom is easy to be entreated because it is very persuadable to what is good. This is an acceptable easiness to have the opportunity to yield ourselves to the persuasions of biblical principles especially when a fellow brother or sister in Christ approaches us with a possibility to meet a person's / group's need / needs and make some sort of an righteous influence on his, her or the group's life. We should be very open to this because I have never seen a time period in history where the needs are greater than this point of time.
Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits. We as Christians need to relieve those who have legitimate needs but it is also referring to those who offend us because we are to have forgiveness in our hearts. I just most recently had a person be extremely bold and rude to me that I barely knew but I prayed to God to put a forgiving spirit in my heart. This person gave me such a verbal lashing that I was literally shaking on the inside. This is hard because our flesh desires us to really let them have a piece of our mind but this is just going to lead into confusion and every evil work. Wisdom from above can change to wisdom from below in ten seconds. We have the grace of God through the mercy of His Son Jesus Christ. I would strongly advise that you as a Christian avail yourself to this love from God.
Heavenly wisdom is without partiality or wrangling. We should not censure other people because this wisdom that is from above is without hypocrisy. If we have disguises in ourselves it will come out on the outside. Hiding secret sin / sins tends to lead to partiality toward other people. I have also observed that people that have deceit in their hearts almost always engage in partiality toward other people. If we are sincere with a pure heart and a clean conscience partiality almost never happens because we have an open spirit, steady and consistent with God, ourselves and other people. It is worth it to get and stay right with Jesus Christ so we can be fair and objective with people that come into our lives. If this leads into subjective opinions regarding a situation we are in a pretty good place to give Godly advise.
True wisdom will desire to sow the fruits of righteousness in the spirit of peace because a true believer in Christ does not want war. We were called in the Bible to war against our own sin. For example just read Romans chapter 6, 7 and 8 and it will become clear to you that this battle is sanctioned and commanded by God. Some people war against people as a lifestyle but we were called as Christians to sow the fruits of righteousness in peace. We are called by God to make peace in this world. If we do sow peace this will produce a harvest of joy rather than the constant contention in this world.
If you do not know the Lord in a personal way now may be a good time to come to Him. It is as simple as accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. You will either have earthly wisdom which is straight from the devil or you will have heavenly wisdom which is from above. The choice is up to us but God gives us a little room to make our own decision to test our character. The wisdom from below produces no positive results but the wisdom from above will last for all eternity. I hope and pray that you just made that all important eternal decision for your life. As you walk through your life choose heavenly wisdom as opposed to earthly wisdom.
God Bless you,