James 1: 16-27
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word and does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James gives practical teachings to the Jewish Christians so that they will not be deceived by living in a polluted world. God does not change so these words are good and perfect gifts to us as Christians who have received the Word of truth to become firstfruits of God’s creation. This Word is to be studied to teach us how to live a righteous life: Accept and plant this word within our heart; Get rid of all moral filth and evil; Be quick to listen and slow to speak; Do not only listen but do what the word teaches; Help widows and orphans in need. When we follow these commands, we will be saved and blessed in what we do.
Father we find ourselves living in a polluted world of sin. Thank you for your commands found in your Word that will keep us from being deceived when we accept and obey your teachings. Send your Spirit to teach us how to use your Word to live a godly life for you and others. We ask in the name of Jesus the Christ, amen.