So do we have heavenly wisdom? Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the opposite, devilish wisdom. James 3:14, 15 says, “…if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
Bitter envy: competition, seeking to defeat others, being jealous of other’s achievements and honors, wanting what they have. The question is not, “Do I have envy?” If we are honest, such desires rise up in our souls regularly. The question is, “What do I do when envy raises its ugly head?” If I have heavenly wisdom, I will recognize this envy right away before it becomes bitter and reject it in favor of the seven qualities of heavenly wisdom.
Selfish ambition: seeking to make myself look good, feel good, be successful (for the wrong motives), be significant and secure from my own efforts and the opinions of others. This quality is totally self-centered.
The insidious thing about selfish ambition is that it can be disguised as a spiritual thing, “Working for the Lord,” “giving myself to ministry.” In reality, though, it is revealed when you don’t get your way, when others don’t cooperate, when you are instructed to do something in a more effective but less self-satisfying way.
Selfish ambition is seen primarily in our motives, and we do not often examine our motives naturally, but seek to ignore them. So we are back to the first quality of heavenly wisdom, purity.
It behooves us and is glorifying to God to regularly spend time in confession giving the Spirit time to bring up sins we didn’t notice. And it is also important to listen to what others have to say about us, about what the see as sin in our lives. When several are saying he same thing, we need to pay very close attention. And then we need to measure ourselves by the seven heavenly wisdom qualities, repent where necessary and cooperate with the Spirit in being wise in a heavenly way.