But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
James is speaking about a bitter, resentful, destructive and the self-seeking attitude which is evident in a heart not given over to the Lord. This is descriptive behavior of an unbeliever who is at enmity against God. Therefore, none of these characteristics should be found in a child of God. This becomes evident to us when James tells us the source of such wisdom. It comes from a dark fallen world under the influence of Satan, whom the Apostle Paul calls the “prince of the power of the air.” Moreover, James uses the terms earthly, sensual and demonic to describe the world’s wisdom, and to emphasize this spirit does not come from God.
In addition, James shows us the end result of human wisdom. Wisdom which stems from a dark and fallen world, can only end in wickedness and chaos. And this has become very much evident in our world today. People today see the wickedness and ask why do bad things happen, not realizing the source from which the world draws from is evil. And here in these passages, James is giving us the answer to that question. And as we understand the end result of human wisdom, we begin to understand why so many people behave wickedly and hurt others. They do so because of the fruit born from a heart in rebellion against God. A heart which hates the things of God, hates goodness, hates kindness, hates mercy and grace. And most of all hates all those who do not share in the same wicked ideology.