Wisdom comes from age and experience. Older people understand how important it is to save for a rainy day; to associate with good friends; and to gain an education. Adults who have been around awhile will avoid credit abuse; train their children to obey; and will watch what they eat.
This natural understanding is acquired by enduring life's lessons — especially the school of hard knocks. But did you know there are supernatural sources of wisdom, too? One kind of non-human wisdom is cunning and crafty. The other kind of spiritual wisdom is humble and beneficial.
The apostle James described these two sources of wisdom (see James 3/13-18). The good kind is derived from heaven and originates in our Father's good heart toward us. Heavenly wisdom always produces peace. When we act in accord with godly wisdom, the result is a righteous outcome in line with God's will that prospers us. Wisdom produces wealth. Wisdom enriches life. Wisdom stabilizes generations.
James said that wisdom is from three possible sources. The first two are natural: 1) knowledge or science; 2) the human soul or psychology. These two human kinds of wisdom may be good or bad but are not necessarily evil.
James warned about a third source of wisdom, not from God, that is malicious. It is not just human, but is a demon at work trying to harm human beings. It is an evil spirit sent to deceive or snare the undiscerning.
You can discern this devilish kind of wisdom by its origin, by its "half-truths", and by the confusion it always produces. It is contrary to Scripture and is alien to God's holy love. Avoid anyone with this spirit!
This devilish wisdom tries to manipulate rather than freely give advice. It's goal is not to help, but is self-promotion through control. It wants to gain advantage, to increase it's own power, and it will try to discredit any anointed leaders of God in the church. It uses condemnation and intimidation to get its way.
False wisdom sows discord rather than unity. It is void of honor. It serves it's own carnal agenda rather than helping others become their best in life for the glory of God.
The Lord says in the Bible that if anyone lacks wisdom, to ask God in prayer for help from above. He will give wisdom to us all freely, without shaming or blaming us, so that we can succeed in life.
Ron Wood is a pastor and writer who formerly lived in Meridian. Contact him at email@example.com.