The Old Testament has four types of literature. There are the books on the Law, the books of the prophets, the historical books, and what we bunch together as Wisdom Literature. In Wisdom Literature we have the Psalms, Proverbs, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes. Those books give advice on how we should live.
I bring up the subject of Wisdom Literature here, because the Letter of James from which we are reading last week and this represent the sole New Testament instance of Wisdom Literature.
In today’s reading James contrasts worldly wisdom with wisdom from above, and he tells us that the big difference between them is in the regard they exhibit for others.
The worldly wise man is a person who knows how to use others for his own advantage. He is the clever dealer, the clever athlete. He knows how to bend others to his advantage.
The person with heavenly wisdom has a concern for the welfare of others. It frees him or her from selfishly desiring things. As James says, such a person has righteousness “sown in peace.”
All our frustrations come from thwarted desires. The person who has done away with selfish desires is the person in perfect peace.