“If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.” (James 3:14-15)
In his letter to the Corinthians St. Paul says: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19). St. James seems to reiterate this point when he speaks of wisdom from above as different from wisdom from below.
While the wisdom from above is characterized by purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, steadfastness, and truthfulness, the wisdom from below is earthly, unspiritual, devilish characterized by selfishness, and all kinds of evil practices. Many have arisen to public office through dirty politics; “pull-him-down” syndrome, character assassination, bribery, and corruption. Such leaders end up becoming great disasters because they operate by devilish wisdom.
Instead of loving our neighbours as ourselves, treating others as we would like to be treated, devilish wisdom fuels selfishness in us, it brings about disorder in society and man’s inhumanity to man. The question is: “What kind of wisdom do I operate with?” As Jesus would tell us, we cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13).
The disciples of Jesus are embarrassed that despite all their efforts, they could cure a boy who had a mute and deaf spirit. Jesus referred to them as a “faithless generation.” The question is: “If the disciples had no faith at all, would they have attempted to cure this boy?” Secondly, we recall that in Mark 6, Jesus sent out these same disciples on mission. They “went out and preached, that men should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13). Meaning that this was not their first attempt at curing the sick.
This episode also teaches us never to allow pride to get into us. The fact that you have been laying your hands on the sick and they recover, the fact that you have even raised the dead to life before does not make you “Deputy Jesus.” Do not begin to beat your chest because without God’s power working through you, you are nothing. Thank God, the disciples of Jesus were not ashamed to report themselves to Jesus
Jesus told them that “this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” That is to say, there are different categories of evil spirits and some require serious preparation on our part to cast them out. The disciples could not have prayed and fasted at that very moment so what Jesus was saying, in essence, is that they should always be prepared ahead of time.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, infuse into me wisdom from above. Amen.
Bible Study: James 3:13-18, Ps. 19:8-10,15, Mark 9:14-29).