13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his 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, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18


Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” At the time James was writing his letter to his converted brethren, many Jews were claiming righteousness while promoting violence either outwardly or by virtue of manipulation.  In fact it was out of envy that the Jewish leaders handed Jesus over to Pilate.


Matt. 27:15-18 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.


Do you rejoice when others succeed or do you harbor secret envy or criticism? Worldly wisdom is selfish, robs God of His glory, and exalts man.  Today commit to avoid self promotion at the expense of others. Paraphrase Psalm 17:3-5 for your prayer today.

3     Though you probe my heart and examine me at night,
though you test me, you will find nothing;
I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
4     As for the deeds of men—
by the word of your lips
I have kept myself
from the ways of the violent.
5     My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.   


  1. inkgalcrazyme says:

    you have an inspiring post

  2. michael144 says:

    Compare these two verses…Is the second verse speaking of one person?

    Romans 9:21
    Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

    Mathew 24:40
    Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    “The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth.” – Jean de La Bruyere (1645-1696)

  3. Nance says:

    When one is discerning the meaning of text, of any text, one must examine the context–in this case of the verse. I’m not sure if you are wanting to compare the two verses and their meanings, because on the surface they are addressing two different groups of people in different circumstances. Paul’s letter to the church in Rome was dictated to indwelt believers while, in the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus was having a private conversation with his disciples anwering one of their questions. The two are not even conveying related truths, so I am not even sure what it is you want me to compare for one is regarding eschatology and the other theological. Therfore, I will exegete each scripture and then answer your question. Right now, I need to put my kids to bed. So this will have to wait.

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