Faith and Wisdom
1From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To all of God’s people who are scattered everywhere in the world:
2My brothers, you will have many kinds of troubles. But when these things happen, you should be very happy. 3You know that these things are testing your faith. And this will give you patience. 4Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. 5But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. God is generous. He enjoys giving to all people, so God will give you wisdom. 6But when you ask God, you must believe. Do not doubt God. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea. The wind blows the wave up and down. 7-8He who doubts is thinking two different things at the same time. He cannot decide about anything he does. A person like that should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord.
9If a believer is poor, he should take pride that God has made him spiritually rich. 10If he is rich, he should take pride that God has shown him that he is spiritually poor. The rich person will die like a wild flower in the grass. 11The sun rises and becomes hotter and hotter. The heat makes the plants very dry, and the flower falls off. The flower was beautiful, but now it is dead. It is the same with a rich person. While he is still taking care of his business, he will die.
Temptation Is Not from God
12When a person is tempted and still continues strong, he should be happy. After he has proved his faith, God will reward him with life forever. God promised this to all people who love him. 13When someone is being tempted, he should not say, “God is tempting me.” Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. 14It is the evil that a person wants that tempts him. His own evil desire leads him away and holds him. 15This desire causes sin. Then the sin grows and brings death.
16My dear brothers, do not be fooled about this. 17Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars. God does not change like their shifting shadows. 18God decided to give us life through the word of truth. He wanted us to be the most important of all the things he made.
Listening and Obeying
19My dear brothers, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily. 20Anger will not help you live a good life as God wants. 21So put out of your life every evil thing and every kind of wrong you do. Don’t be proud but accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save your souls.
22Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. 23A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. 24He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. 25But the truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does this, it makes him happy.
The True Way to Worship God
26A person might think he is religious. But if he says things he should not say, then he is just fooling himself. His “religion” is worth nothing. 27Religion that God the Father accepts is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help; and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. This is the kind of religion that God accepts as pure and good.