1I, James, am writing this letter. I serve God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sending this letter to you, the 12 tribes that are scattered among the nations. Greetings.
Facing All Kinds of Trouble
2My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.
5If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn't find fault.
6But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. 7A man like that shouldn't expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8He can't make up his mind. He can never decide what to do.
9A believer who finds himself in a low position in life should be proud that God has given him a high position. 10But someone who is rich should take pride in his low position. That's because he will fade away like a wild flower.
11The sun rises. Its burning heat dries up the plants. Their blossoms fall. Their beauty is destroyed. In the same way, a rich person will fade away even as he goes about his business.
12Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him.
13When you are tempted, you shouldn't say, "God is tempting me." God can't be tempted by evil. And he doesn't tempt anyone.
14But your own evil longings tempt you. They lead you on and drag you away. 15When they are allowed to grow, they give birth to sin. When sin has grown up, it gives birth to death.
16My dear brothers and sisters, don't let anyone fool you. 17Every good and perfect gift is from God. It comes down from the Father. He created the heavenly lights. He does not change like shadows that move.
18God chose to give us new birth through the message of truth. He wanted us to be the first and best of everything he created.
Listen to the Word and Do What It Says
19My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. 20A man's anger doesn't produce the kind of life God wants.
21So get rid of everything that is dirty and sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don't be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.
22Don't just listen to the word. You fool yourselves if you do that. You must do what it says.
23Suppose you listen to the word but don't do what it says. Then you are like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. 24After looking at himself, he leaves. Right away he forgets what he looks like.
25But suppose you take a good look at the perfect law that gives freedom. You keep looking at it. You don't forget what you've heard, but you do what the law says. Then you will be blessed in what you do.
26Suppose you think your beliefs are right because of how you live. But you don't control what you say. Then you are fooling yourselves. Your beliefs are not worth anything at all.
27Here are the kinds of beliefs that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows and children who have no parents are in trouble, take care of them. And keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.