Posts Tagged ‘Selfish Ambition


Earthly Wisdom

Good Thursday morning to you! James, after talking about taming the tongue, describes two kinds of wisdom. The first is earthly and demonic. It is marked by selfishness and envy. He writes:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. – James 3:13-14 (NIV)
Rather than using our “wisdom” to gain an advantage over people, we should use everything we have for the good of others. We should be humble and not full of selfish ambition. We should do good deeds for others rather than trying to satisfy our envious desires. That is when we will be using the wisdom God grants for the right purposes.

The Wrong Kind Of Wisdom

James 3:13-16 (NIV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.


In chapter 1, James said that we should ask for wisdom:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5 (NIV)

 Here, in chapter 3, James describes two very different kinds of wisdom.  First, he describes worldly wisdom.  He says that it is:

  • Not from heaven
  • Earthly
  • Unspiritual
  • Demonic

If you want to prove that you are wise, you must show it by your humble deeds done for others.  Deeds done out of selfish ambition or bitter envy do not please God and do not demonstrate wisdom.  They only produce disorder and wickedness.

​God is a God of order and righteousness, not disorder and wickedness.  When we are truly wise, we will know what pleases God – humility and service to others.  When a church is full of bitterness fueled by envy (I want what SHE has!  I want what HE has!) and selfish ambition (I’ll do whatever it takes to get what he/she has!), then you have pride, disorder and ​evil.  
So let us ask for a different kind of wisdom.  A wisdom from Heaven that teaches us to be humble and to look out for others instead of a wisdom that only seeks to satisfy our wicked desires.  
PRAYER: Father God, I am in need of the true wisdom that comes from You.  Left to my own devices, I will use my knowledge and “wisdom” to suit my own desires.  Help me to be wise and to use that wisdom to please You only.  Help me to serve others in humility and to live a life of righteousness.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: