What up? James here. Servant of God. Follower of Jesus. All-around good guy.
James says that he's writing to "the twelve tribes in the Dispersion." In other words: Jewish-Christians who don't live in the Jewish homeland in Palestine.
And what does he have to say? We're glad you asked.
For starters—don't fret about tough times. Sure, going through trials and tribulations is no fun, but some good can come of it. Do tell.
Well, it can be a good test of your faith. Oh, and it can help you learn to be strong and persevere. So there's that.
If there's anything you don't know, just ask God about it. He'll fill you in on the details.
But whatever you do, says James, don't doubt him. God doesn't like it when you're saying one thing and thinking another. Doubting Thomases (or Dicks or Harrys) get nothing as far as he's concerned.
More Advice from James
Are you poor? No problem! Anyone who follows Jesus and finds themselves short of cash is gonna get a major reward very soon.
Rich guys? They're gonna wither and die like a plant in the scorching sun. It's not pretty.
If you want to do something, but know you shouldn't, keep holding out. That really makes God happy. Anyone who can stand their ground in the face of temptation is definitely winning.
See, James doesn't think that God actually tempts people. You want to eat that extra donut because you think it's delicious. Not because God made it delicious. The time-to-make-the-donuts guy is kind of to blame there.
When you give into your desires, that leads to sin. And sin? Well, that leads to death.
Everything good that we do and everything awesome in the world comes straight from God, says James.
God created the world then showed it the truth—the truth about Jesus, that is. And believers are the "first fruits" out of everyone in the whole world. They're kind of like hipsters—they were into Jesus before he went mainstream.
Listen to each other. Don't fight and argue—it makes Baby Jesus cry. Besides, if you listen more, you might be able to help someone find God.
Be a doer. Don't nod along when you hear people talk about doing nice things. Go out and do your own good stuff.
Seriously, don't be a giant hypocrite. You can't say you're religious and then just sit by doing nothing. Hearing about God isn't as important as doing God's work. So get out there and care for some widows and orphans already.