James way of getting us convicted
Our discipleship group at St. Thomas is studying the book of James. This week we were reading James 3 and came across verses 14-15 which say this, "But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic."
In verse 15 James wants to drive home how ugly these two sins (bitter jealousy and selfish ambition) are and so he describes them with these three words: earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. To which my initial response was: Earthly, yes. Unspiritual, of course. But demonic?
It's unexpected because I usually associate demonic activity with the things that go down in movies like The Exorcist or Paranormal Activity. Freaky invisible forces that make people do crazy things. And there's something to that (Mark 5:1-13). But that's not what James says here about demons.
Here, James tells us that we do what demons do when we're bitter and jealous and selfish. When you snub your roommate cause you're still bitter about that cutting remark he made last week, uncle Screwtape's proud. When you must have your way and threaten to take your toys and go home if you don't get it, Wormwood puts a mark in the win column. You do their agenda, you submit to their influence, and you share their character traits when you're filled with bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. This is James way of getting us convicted over our "respectable sins."