Thought for the Week - 29th MayPastor Gareth Watkins
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
James as a writer directs the reader to Godly living rather than debating and speculating. He directs you which way you should go.
In the verse above, this wisdom doesn’t descend from above. Do we acknowledge there are two sources of wisdom? One of God, which comes from the kingdom of God. And one from below, which is earthly, sensual and demonic. In Strong’s Concordance, we read that sensual wisdom is that concerning the five senses, that which concerns this life and common to things in this life only. This list includes lusts, elicit desires, unclean practices, and that which opens your life up to the demonic.
Sometimes when we’re seeking wisdom, direction and knowledge, we need to understand that there’s two sources of our wisdom – that from God and that not of God. James encourages us to walk in Godly wisdom and not in the wisdom of the demonic.We don’t like talking in this way, with the word “demonic”. We don’t like thinking that we can have demonic thoughts. But this is what James is bringing to us – that we can have wisdom from the wrong quarter and that it’s possible for Christians to have thoughts and drivers from demonic forces.
James gives us an example in Chapter 1:
James 1:6 – 8
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
In these verses, James shows two choices – one way that will cause faith and Godly wisdom in a person, and the other which will cause double-mindedness and instability. You can turn to God for wisdom, move on and produce fruits, or turn elsewhere for wisdom. Where are you before God? Are you following God to get what you can get and the good feelings? Or are you following God for the things that take us forward? God wants us to look for Godly wisdom! We will see in faith something occur in our lives because of the desire in us for Godly wisdom. Not to be tossed around in life, disturbed by instability.
In Godly wisdom we get something very different from that we get from demonic wisdom. We can end up being destroyed by the things that we rely on in the sensual. James is saying that we can’t trust these things. That there’s more than this… There’s Godly wisdom!
We also read another example in James:
James 1:12 – 15
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Godly wisdom produces one set of results, and demonic another set of results. Godly wisdom in this example produces endurance, an ability to keep on standing. It enables us, as spiritual beings, to stand right before Him. The other wisdom produces something else… us blaming God! “God’s tempting me”, “I can’t be expected to withstand this temptation” etc… and we fall. We are looking for reasons to fail rather than succeed.
The benefit of standing and enduring in spiritual things, far outweighs the weakness of our fallings. In this example, we see someone who’s looking to the wrong source of wisdom and then blaming God! And because he’s blaming God, he can do as he likes. The demonic source of wisdom brings forth more temptations, sin and death. God wants us to seek Him for heavenly wisdom.
We learn more later in the chapter:
James 1:19 – 20
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Doers—Not Hearers Only
Godly wisdom produces something! It produces a calmness, a hearing, an ability to be steadfast in our soul. When trouble comes, so can the worry that unseats you. But the person who’s steadfast in God, He will bring a steadfastness into their soul and an ability for them to listen to God through the trouble. But the person with the demonic wisdom, will shut their ears and go into a blind rage for example. And anger, and filth can occur. The Godly wisdom will allow you to be settled and steadfast in your soul.
James shows us there’s a Godly wisdom, and a set that’s demonic which takes us away from the wisdom of God. It’s up to us which way we go. James teaches us that there are principles of Christian living and there’s a Godly wisdom that He wants us to go into. These choices will produce results in our lives! The demonic wisdom will bring doubts of God, the blame of God, and anger against God. This isn’t what God wants of us. He wants us to look above for heavenly wisdom.
And James shows us which way to go.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
James refers to a miracle. God is on our side and puts into us an ability to know His way! An implanted Word! We need to look to God for heavenly wisdom and the word of God implanted in us. He gives us words! We know these things in our hearts sometimes even before we read it. James shows us that God wants these things for us and gives us an ability – over and above ourselves – so that we might receive it. It’s a miracle that we’re not bound to the set of rules set by this demonic world! We can instead rise up and look to another set of rules that can make us a faithful people, live a steadfast and make us a people of fruitfulness that we wouldn’t be able to achieve on our own. Praise God!
Do we have this implanted word? Sometimes we trust in ourselves, our education, traditions and our humanity…and the results can be failure! We need to look to this Godly wisdom instead and receive something that feeds our souls. People have the word in them but still rely on the wrong source for their wisdom.
Can you see yourself in this? Can you see yourself resisting the devil, drawing closer to God, God drawing near to you, and being seers and doers of the word? These lessons are rich, practical and can point us in the direction we need to go.