Main point summary
I, James, exhort the dispersed believers to be thankful for trials, and let God do his complete work in them through these trials. Do this by requesting His wisdom, having an eternal perspective, knowing God is for your good, and humbly hearing and submitting to His Word, because those who endure will be rewarded with eternal life.
This life is full of trials. We don't like them, but James 1 tells us they are good gifts from God to strengthen our faith and grow us in righteousness. James 1 also gives us a roadmap for how to walk through them and let the steadfastness produced by them have its full effect. One thing we need to do toward this end (from verses 19-21) is be quick to listen and humble in response. We often want to be indignant when going through a trial. However, in order to grow in righteousness (vs. 20), we need to be especially quick to listen to God's Word, and examine ourselves for areas of sin. If God does reveal sin, instead of being proud and angry, we need to humbly submit and repent. In this way, the trial can have it's full effect toward making us perfect and complete. (vs 4).
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
e Count it all joy, my brothers, 1 when you meet trials f of various kinds, for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
j If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God, l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
and r the rich in his humiliation, because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and t withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
u Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive v the crown of life, w which God has promised to those who love him.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,”
for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire x when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and y sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
z Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from a the Father of lights b with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1
c Of his own will he d brought us forth by the word of truth, e that we should be a kind of f firstfruits of his creatures.
g Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person h be quick to hear, i slow to speak, j slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with l meekness the implanted word, m which is able to save your souls.
But be n doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, p he will be blessed in his doing.
If anyone thinks he is religious q and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s r religion is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction, and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
Being a doer with true belief will be characterized by honoring God in thought, word, and action, not characterized by inconsistent actions and beliefs.
But make sure you aren't just quick to listen to the Word, but obey it, because of the two choices, the self-deceptive hearer, and the persevering doer, only the doer is blessed.
Listen and respond humbly to gain righteousness, so apply this to the saving Word by submitting to it, not getting angry.
Know that God is the unchanging giver of good gifts, just as he redeemed you out of His own desire.
Don't accuse God of tempting you when it is your sinful flesh that inclines you in ways that lead to death.
He who perseveres in faith through trials will be glad, because he will receive the crown of life
Let the lowly brother going through a trial have the eternal perspective of status in Christ, but let the person pursuing riches beware, because his end will be humiliation.
If you need wisdom, ask God who is glad to give abundantly, but be sure to ask from a heart of belief, not debating wisdom from other sources.
Be thankful for trials that strengthen your faith's ability to endure to the end, and don't try to short circuit God's work in you through trials, so you are sanctified.