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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Humility

by Marilynn Chadwick

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13 NIV)

Humility. It’s the virtue that gets lost in the speed of our fast-track living. From the Greek word, prautes, humility means "gentleness, not born in weakness, but in power."

I’ve heard humility often referred to as “bridled power.” James tells us a little secret. True humility comes from wisdom. But here’s the catch. It’s only the heavenly version of wisdom which produces humility. Counterfeit, or earthly wisdom, is simply the veneer over hidden pride.

James exposes the dangerous underbelly of earthly wisdom:

“For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices” (James 3:16 AMPC).

Envy, rivalry, selfish ambition. All symptoms of earthly wisdom. But James digs deeper. Such wisdom is not only unspiritual, he warns, it's actually from the devil. This kind of wisdom trips us up in our faith walk and gives birth to all kinds of evil.

The devil has no new tricks. He dangled the very same earthly wisdom to tempt Eve. When she saw "...the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” (Genesis 3:6 AMPC). No wonder the devil still tempts us with the same lure. It works!


It's important we learn to seek "heavenly" wisdom, while also asking the Holy Spirit to make us alert to the dangers of earthly wisdom.


Lord, help us resist the temptations of earthly wisdom. False fruit may look appealing but tempts us to become filled with pride and self-righteousness. Give us your kind of true wisdom. It always comes through humility—bridled power—and prompts us to look up and lean only on you.

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