1 From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To all of God’s people who are scattered everywhere in the world:
2 My brothers, you will have many kinds of troubles. But when these things happen, you should be very happy. 3 You know that these things are testing your faith. And this will give you patience. 4 Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. 5 But 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. 6 But 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. 7-8 He 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.
9 If a believer is poor, he should take pride that God has made him spiritually rich. 10 If 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. 11 The 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
12 When 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. 13 When someone is being tempted, he should not say, “God is tempting me.” Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. 14 It is the evil that a person wants that tempts him. His own evil desire leads him away and holds him. 15 This desire causes sin. Then the sin grows and brings death.
16 My dear brothers, do not be fooled about this. 17 Every 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. 18 God 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
19 My dear brothers, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily. 20 Anger will not help you live a good life as God wants. 21 So 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.
22 Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. 23 A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. 24 He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. 25 But 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
26 A 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. 27 Religion 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.
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