Understand that James is writing to believers, and in verse 19, he says, “This you know.” You and I have to ask ourselves, “What do we know?” The author is reminding us of what he has already said.
We know about the trials of faith. We know that if we persevere through our struggles, they will end in a perfect result, and we discover that we have lacked nothing. We have also learned to trust God for the wisdom and strength that we have needed.
We know that we do experience temptations. These are temptations to do evil, but while God give us trials, He does tempt you and me to do evil.
Our temptations to do evil come from three sources. The devil is described as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” And while Satan and his devils do tempt us, we are also tempted by the world that we live in and our own fleshly nature.
We have learned through scripture that temptations follow an order. We look; we like; and we lust. James 1:14-15 says it like this, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
Again, James 1:19 says that we already know this.
The author continues. He tells believers to be quick to hear (the Word of God), slow to speak, and slow to anger. What James is teaching you and me is to live our faith. The place where we will learn about our faith is in the Bible. And, the writer wants us to live in a way that will win others to Christ.
Sad to say, but the way we live our lives, talk, and show our anger do not always demonstrate God’s righteousness. So in James 1:21, we read, “Put aside all filthiness and wickedness.” We are to humbly receive God’s Word, and it is to be implanted or applied in our lives. The reality is that as Christians, we know that hearing and applying the Word of God will lead to salvation.
James continues, he encourages us to not only read the Bible but to practice our faith. To do this, verse 25, says, “Look intently” into the Word. When we do this, we will learn about God’s perfect law and liberty (the freedom that can only come from a relationship through Christ).
A simple way to remember this is:
Look into the Word of God.
Listen to the Word o God.
Learn from the Word of God.
Live the Word of God.
James’ suggestions for practicing your faith include visiting the orphans and widows, and keep yourself from the influences of the world.