Having explored the “meekness of wisdom” in James 3:13 and drawn out the possible reasons wisdom should lead to meekness (Part 1), with James we now contrast the wisdom from below with the wisdom from above.
James singles out meekness as the chief external virtue that shows forth wisdom, and he immediately contrasts this godly meekness with self-seeking factionalism. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory [boast] not, and lie not against the truth” (3:14, KJV). In other words, if on the inside you have self-seeking instead of wisdom, your modus operandi is going to include a lot of boasting, politicking, muscling, wheeling and dealing, and whatever it takes. This boastful bullheadedness is a tell-tale sign of bitter envy and strife. C’mon, says James. Who are you kidding? Don’t lie against the truth. Anyone who is boasting in his so-called “wisdom” only betrays the fact that he has no true wisdom. Mental acumen is not the same thing as wisdom; in the hands of a self-seeker, mental acumen is a dangerous, deceptive faculty. If you want to be taken seriously as a wise man, be meek. The alternative is ugly.