Listen to today’s devo!

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12)

Expanded Passage: James 4:12

The lodgepole pine has unique cones. The seeds are sealed in the cone by a thick coating of resin. There is only one way those seeds are coming out to form new trees—the resin has to melt. These pyrophytic plants rely on fire to sprout new seedlings. Full-grown trees are taken out by wildfires as well. The very thing that destroys life is the thing that brings new life

James reminded us that there is one who can deliver and destroy, and that we are not him. Throughout the book of James, we are told that we can pray for wisdom and God will grant it (1:5) and that God’s wisdom is “pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (3:17). God’s wisdom helps us to understand why James said our tongue is a fire that has the ability to destroy (3:6–8). We might be able to temporarily “destroy” someone with our words or judgment, but the destruction eventually is worked out in our own lives.

Bitter envy and selfish ambition come from the wisdom of the world and are at the root of judging our neighbor. God is the giver of pure, merciful wisdom that allows us to give life. Wisdom is knowing that there is a God who is the Lawgiver and Judge and that we are not him.

Ask for pure, merciful wisdom, that you may give life.

Priscilla Hammond is an ordained pastor and associate professor in the Benson School of Business at Southern Wesleyan University (SC).

© 2024 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.