As is true of all valuable possessions wisdom has its counterfeits.
Divine Wisdom: Genuine
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Selfish ambition is the desire to be seen, quoted and respected.
"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'
It is the motive that drive people to push themselves to the top.
These men hungered for the prominence of position, not for gentleness and good behaviour. The wise, however, allow God to open doors instead of trying to force them to open themselves.
Characteristics of False Wisdom
- Arrogant - rationalizing your own sins or even boasting that the end justifies the means, that the bad down wasn't all that bad or that everybody does it.
- Lying against the truth - the natural tendency of human wisdom is not simply to ignore or dodge the truth; it is to lie against it... 'a defiance of truth'
- Has earthly origin - it views everything from a strictly horizontal perspective: earthly success, earthly standard, earthly motives, earthly attitudes, earthly methods, earthly everything~!
- It is natural - fleshly, not related to the Spirit of God. Denotes a wisdom whose vision is limited to things temporal, not eternal.
- It is also demonic - a mindset characteristic of demons. They are brilliant and know a great deal - even about God - but there is no change, no obedience and no yielding of self to God.
When a life is out of step with Scripture, there will eventually be a manipulation of the truth to justify following a drumbeat different from God's. The result is self-deception. It's like getting the first wall up on a new home and suddenly realizing that your measurements are wrong. But instead of admitting the mistake, you design a new ruler to fit the inaccurate measurements of the first wall. The entire house ends up a crooked disaster.
Result of False Wisdom
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. [James 3:16]
Disorder means more than just confusion. It means disharmony, antagonism and the absence of unity and stability. When a teaching results in rivalry rather than building up in love, it is NOT wisdom from above.
When human wisdom is taught, it lifts the lid on all sorts of worthless, petty, evil things. Like Pandora's box, the human heart is home to a haunting array of sinful thoughts.
He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' " [Mark 7:20-23]