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Wednesday, February 21: Such wisdom does not come down from heaven

Faith WorksRelying heavily on the teachings of Jesus and especially drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, James, in his New Testament letter, asserts that true faith is more than an intellectual pursuit of ideas. Instead, real faith results in action. James writes a stream of wise teachings that can easily seem like a bucket of ice water in your face. Watch for the Holy Spirit to call you to take next steps in activating your faith, helping you encounter and better follow Jesus to bless a broken world.

Read James 3:13-16

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Reflect

James compares and contrasts two different kinds of wisdom. The first is characterized by a good life and a humble spirit, the second by envy, selfish ambition, and disorder. One kind of wisdom is "from above" but the other from a more evil starting point. Have you ever heard this kind of distinction made so clearly?

Respond

As you listen to the words and look at the lives of people around you—and your own—can you see examples of each of these kinds of wisdom? Pay attention for a day to where you hear and see them, and prepare to be shocked and amazed by what you learn. Thank God for the examples of wisdom from above.

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