James  ◦   Chapter 1

1James, a humble servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, To the heirs of the promise made to Abraham, scattered around the world: Greetings.

2My brothers and sisters in God's family, I want you to rejoice and keep a positive attitude whenever you face troubles of various kinds,3because every trial exercises your trust in God–which overcomes fear and selfishness–and builds a confident, steadfast application of the Remedy.4And this steadfast engagement in God's treatment must be completed so that you may be fully healed, mature, and like Christ in character–not lacking anything.5If any of you don’t understand God’s methods, if any are confused in your thinking or lack wisdom, ask God — who doesn’t cast blame, but enthusiastically gives wisdom to all who ask — and it will be given to you.6But when you ask, ask with the sure and confident knowledge that he longs to give you what you ask: do not waver back and forth in fear and uncertainty like a fishing bobber tossed about on ocean waves, for your fear will obstruct your ability to receive what he longs to give you.7Those consumed by fear will not think they can receive anything from the Lord:8they are unstable, controlled by emotions, and can't make up their minds about anything.

9The member of God's family who is poor by worldly standards should rejoice in their high position in God's kingdom,10and anyone rich in the world's eye should not celebrate earthly wealth but cherish their spiritual humility, because those relying on earthly wealth will wither and die like wildflowers.11Think how the hot sun scorches, and the plant withers: its beauty fails, and it slowly dies. In the same way, those who rely on earthly riches will age, wither, and fade away while striving to get ahead.

12But the person who steadfastly continues in God's treatment despite trials, difficulties or discomfort, will be healed and receive eternal life — as promised by God to those who love and trust him.

13When tempted to deviate from God's design for life, no one should ever say, "God is tempting me," for God is the source of life and cannot be tempted by deviations from His design, nor does he tempt anyone.14Each person is tempted when they are deceived, pulled and enticed by their own fear-based, self-centered feelings and desires.15Then, when the selfish desire is accepted by the will, it results in choices that deviate from God's design for life; and choices that deviate from God's design for life result in death.

16So please, my dear family, don't be fooled!17Everything good, healthy and beneficial originates in heaven and comes down from the Father who created the universe. He is always good and will never alter his methods of love. He does not waver, and he is certainly not the source of darkness and death!18He is the source of life, and he chose to give us new life through Jesus — the true expression of God — that we might be the masterpieces of all his creation.

19Remember this, my dear Christian family: Seek to understand before seeking to be understood, and don't be quick to take offense,20for person's outrage is based on selfishness and does not promote restoration of Christlike character as God desires.21So rid yourselves of the numerous influences that debase, defile and damage the character, and humbly nurture the Remedy placed in you, which can heal you.

22Don't play games with yourselves by merely listening to God's prescription–apply it and do what it says!23Anyone who simply listens to God's prescription and doesn't apply it to their life is like a person who looks at their face in a mirror,24sees the dirt, then walks away without washing it off, and eventually forgets about it.25But those who examine themselves honestly in the light of God's law of love–the law that heals and frees from fear and selfishness–and continue to do this daily, not ignoring what is learned but applying it diligently, experience happiness as they are healed and transformed.

26Those who feel better about themselves–believing they are well, but have no control over what they say–are in denial of their own worsening condition, and the treatment program they are in doesn't work.27The treatment program that God our Father recognizes as effective is this: actively loving others, caring for orphans and widows, and avoiding defiling self with the selfishness of the world.