You can always count on James to cut right through the fluff and get to the core. If there is jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, don’t overcompensate by bragging and lying about it. Do you want to get rid of that and find true humility? It comes from wisdom.
And to His disciples, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Which is to say, practice humility.
Switching from theology to math, the transitive property states that if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Applying that to this concept … Humility comes from wisdom. Humility also equals service. Thus, if you want wisdom, you must be a servant.
Both Jesus and James ask the question, “Why are you arguing?” Both answers come down to selfishness and a failure to serve.
Selfishness is a struggle, and–never has this statement been more true–the struggle is REAL. It was the first struggle, in fact. In the Garden, the serpent convinced Eve she wasn’t getting what she deserved from God, that she should have more, that every tree of the Garden should be open to her. Her selfishness clouded her understanding of her place in the Garden–a caretaker, not an owner. Created, not Creator.
We forfeit wisdom when we put ourselves first. “Me first” is to believe I have the best answer. I know better than YOU, and I know better than GOD. We think we’re protecting ourselves by looking out for Number One, but we only end up making things worse.
Humility isn’t believing the worst about yourself, it’s believing the TRUTH about yourself. It’s knowing your place in God’s grandness.
“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?” (Isaiah 40:26-27 NLT)
So, again, why are you fighting and arguing? Ask God for the wisdom and humility you want. He can handle it. In fact, He encourages it–James 1:5 says God is a generous giver of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So, both humility and wisdom involve recognizing and accepting your true place–securely held in God’s immeasurable goodness and unfailing faithfulness.