1This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the "twelve tribes" - Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!
Faith and Endurance
2Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.5If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.7Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.8Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.9Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.10And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.11The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.12God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.13And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.14Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.15These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.16So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.17Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.18He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
Listening and Doing
19Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.20Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.21So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.22But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.23For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.24You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.25But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.26If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.27Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.