James 3:13-18 “The Meekness Of Wisdom.”
The truly wise are also meek. It follows from the biblical truth that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10a Cf. Dt. 4:6; Job 28:28; Pr. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). The meek are those who humbly submit to the word and wisdom of God. As James has been stressing throughout this letter, those who are wise and have understanding will also show it in their “good conduct” (v. 13). The chief characteristic of the wise is this meekness. On the other hand, those whose hearts are consumed with “bitter envy and self-seeking…boast and lie against the truth” (v. 14). Envy grows from the seed of covetousness. It wants what another has, knows it can’t get it, and therefore simply tries to deprive it’s rightful owner of it. Sinful so-called wisdom, stems from selfish ambition, it “is earthly, sensual, demonic” (v. 15). The fruit of envy and self-seeking is “confusion and every evil thing” (v. 16 Cf. I Cor. 3:3). By ‘confusion’ James means disorder, and God is not the author of disorder or instability (Cf. Rom. 13:13; I Cor. 14:33).
True self-esteem or self-worth takes pride in one’s own work without comparisons with others, stemming from the gifts which God gives (Cf. Gal. 6:4). Wisdom is both theological and moral. Coupled with the fear of God is all that which is pure, a reflection of the purity of God Himself. Furthermore, just as confusion follows upon that which is evil, even so that which is peaceable follows upon that which is pure. The meekness of wisdom further shows itself in a gentle spirit which submits to that which is pure and peaceable. Such wisdom is “full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (v. 17 Cf. Rom. 12:9). James already gave extensive treatment on the need to not show partiality, which is showing special favour upon some because of outward appearances (Cf. 2:1-13). To show such partiality is to be hypocritical, since we claim to follow the Lord who forbids such behaviour. As James also said, “mercy triumphs over judgment” (3:13). “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (v. 18).