“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is , there is confusion and every evil work. 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. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:13-18).
Most people think that intelligent, old, indigenous and religious people must be very wise, but that is not the way God sees it. There is a so-called wisdom that is in the heart of the unsaved, but true wisdom comes from Heaven. Therefore, wisdom can be either divine or devilish.
Human wisdom is fleshly
James makes it very clear that human wisdom is still a result of man’s fallen nature and is not derived from God. Earthly wisdom is “sensual” that is “natural” or what a person learns from his senses. Mankind is controlled and operates according to the feelings, inclinations, and desires of the flesh. “Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes” (Matthew Henry). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and is to a certain degree no different from the beast of the field or the bird in the sky. “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Peter 2:12). In short, whatever wisdom and understanding he has comes from his unsanctified heart. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). It is such wisdom that continues to ridicule the word of God. “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 17-19).
Human wisdom is devilish
People today think it is clever to “get one over” on someone else or to twist facts for selfish ends, but in reality they are mimicking Satan, the “father of lies” and deceit (John 8:44). Human wisdom, far from being a God-given gift, is inspired by Satan and his angels, for they are behind the philosophies and religions of the world. The “wise men”, such as the Deli Lama, the shaman of pagan religion and the New Age practitioner, might be held in awe by their followers, but they have been deceived by the devil. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Countless millions of people have been and are being eternally ruined by lies that are sugar-coated to look like wisdom. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
“This wisdom – Which is consistent with such zeal. Is earthly – Not heavenly; not from the Father of Lights. Animal – Not spiritual; not from the Spirit of God. Devilish – Not the gift of Christ, but such as Satan breathes into the soul” (John Wesley). The wisdom of this world is as fallen and corrupt as man is himself. This is why as believers we need to follow God’s wisdom, as contained in Scripture, rather than our own or someone else’s. Being clothed in His wisdom we will be protected from the falsehood that the multitudes hold to today. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) … “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it , do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).