Faith and Wisdom
2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested[c] it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
5 And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.[d] 6 Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next. 7–8 When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable.[e] Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?
9 The believer who is poor still has reasons to boast, for he has been placed on high. 10 But those who are rich should boast in how God has brought them low and humbled them, for all their earthly glory will one day fade away like a wildflower in the meadow. 11 For as the scorching heat of the sun causes the petals of the wildflower to fall off and lose its appearance of beauty,[f] so the rich in the midst of their pursuit of wealth will wither away.
12 If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!
13 When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. 14 Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure[g] them away into darkness. 15 Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you! 16 So my friends, don’t be fooled by your own desires!
17 Every gift[h] God freely gives us is good and perfect,[i]streaming down from the Father of lights,[j] who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness[k]and is never subject to change. 18 God was delighted[l] to give us birth by the truth of his infallible Word[m] so that we would fulfill his chosen destiny for us and become the favorite ones out of all his creation![n]
19 My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen,[o] but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, 20 for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose.[p] 21 So this is why we abandon everything morally impure[q] and all forms of wicked conduct.[r] Instead, with a sensitive spirit[s] we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us.[t]
22 Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life![u]
23 If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning.[v] 24 You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word,[w] but then you go out and forget[x]your divine origin. 25 But those who set their gaze deeply into the perfecting law of liberty[y] are fascinated by and respond to the truth they hear and are strengthened by it—they experience God’s blessing in all that they do![z]
26 If someone believes they have a relationship with God but fails to guard his words then his heart is drifting away and his religion is shallow and empty.[aa]
27 True spirituality[ab] that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans,[ac]and widows in their troubles, and to refuse to be corrupted by the world’s values.