James 4:1-12 - Subject Yourselves To God

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?