James' first area of evaluating your spiritual health has to to do with the area of your speech. What he writes echoes thoughts from several Old Testament passages. Psalm 34:1 for example states - "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit." Psalm 39:1 tells us in the KJV - "I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me."
As a regular reader of the Old Testament, James would know how God repeatedly throughout its pages modeled to His people the need to have compassion towards those less fortunate. As the Holy Ghost moved upon James to write his words, passages like Isaiah 58:6 might have been on James' mind: “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke?"
The three areas of speech, compassion towards widows and orphans and holiness carry their way from the Old Testament, through James' writing and into the New Testament. The areas that measure spiritual health in either testament mark are spoken of by James. Keeping oneself from being influenced by the world is mentioned again and again in such Old Testament texts as Exodus 19; Leviticus 11:55 and Isaiah 1:16-17.