For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Today is the last day we will spend on James 3:16, as we have covered it fairly in depth. The category of “every evil thing” basically provides a catch all for anything not specifically mentioned as coming from a reliance on worldly wisdom.
In this usage, the word “evil” doesn’t really refer to evil in the sense of the evil produced by sin. It actually refers to a possible range of things caused by worldly wisdom. The most common usage seems to be describing something that is worthless, or of no account or value. The word “thing” also carries a particular meaning; here it refers to work, deed, event or occurrence. We could paraphrase, then, by saying that every single worthless event, deed or work is caused by the reliance on the wisdom of the world rather than the wisdom from God.
Again, the Apostle Paul made some references to things that are the product of worldly wisdom:
1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
The foundation, of course, is Jesus Christ. But what we choose to build on that foundation is up to us. Worldly wisdom will produce wood, hay and stubble; wisdom from God will produce gold, silver and precious stones.
I hope and pray that each person reading this is laying your life’s works on the foundation of Jesus Christ. The question is: what are you laying ON the foundation and what is it based on?