Text: James 3:14-16 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. [NIV84]
The Big Idea: Cunning wisdom spawns from a heart that is poisoned with bitter envy and selfish ambition.
I have chosen the word, ‘cunning,’ to identify this sort of ‘wisdom’ because it spawns from a heart that is poisoned with bitter envy and selfish ambition. Perhaps not all of the world’s wisdom is such—I don’t want to paint it with too broad a brush…. But ‘cunning’ is the particular word I would use because the actions spawned from such have an appearance of wisdom, but underneath is viperous poison, maneuvering and manipulating for deeply selfish ends….
Lifestyle worshipers, have you seen this sort of ‘wisdom’ in the church, too? People bitterly envious of others who got the ‘spotlight’ or the position they didn’t? Or others who power played an issue just to get their own way? Sadly, I have, and I have also noticed like Pigpen of the Peanuts fame, a cloud of chaos seems to follow them wherever they go. Have you found this to be so, too?
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
— Proverbs 26:24-26 (NIV84)
— Matthew 7:15-16 (NIV84)
— Ezekiel 34:20-21 (NIV84)
Lord Jesus Christ, be Wisdom in me as I respond in Love to those who are poisoned with bitter envy and selfish ambition. In Your Name Amen.