1 Where do conflicts and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your [desire for] pleasures which produces inner conflict? 2 You people desire something and yet do not have it, [so] you murder [to get it]. You are envious [of what someone has] and [yet] are not able to obtain it, [so] you fight and quarrel [over it]. You do not have [what you want] because you do not ask [God for it]. 3 [When] you do ask, you do not receive it, because you ask from wrong motives, [just] so you can satisfy your own pleasures.
4 You people who have become unfaithful to God, do you not know that being [intimate] friends with the world [of sin] means hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever determines to be an [intimate] friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or, do you think that the Scripture says [this] for nothing? [Note: No specific passage is here cited, but the idea occurs in several Old Testament passages]. "The Holy Spirit, whom God has made to live in us, longs jealously [for us to be faithful to God]."
6 But He gives [us] more unearned favor [i.e., to overcome the world]. Therefore, the Scripture says [Prov. 3:34], "God opposes proud people, but gives unearned favor to those who are humble."
7 So, you should submit yourselves to God, but oppose the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinful people [i.e., this is an exhortation to repent of moral and spiritual corruption], and purify your hearts, you double-minded people. 9 Be distressed and grieve and cry [over your sins]; your laughter should turn into grieving and your joy [should turn] into sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you people.
11 Do not slander one another, brothers, [for] the person who speaks against his brother, or judges him, is [guilty of] speaking against the law [of God]. But when you judge the law, you are not obeying it but acting as its judge. 12 There is only One Lawgiver and Judge [i.e., God or Christ]. It is He who is able to save and destroy [people]. So, who [do you think] you are, judging your neighbor?
13 Come on now, you people who are saying, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this [or that] city, spend a year there, do business and make some money." 14 [For actually] you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are [like] a mist that appears briefly and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you should be saying, "If it is what the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that." 16 But, as it is, you people are boasting in your arrogance [and] all such boasting is evil. 17 So, the person who knows the good [he ought] to be doing, but is not doing it, is sinning.