Our scripture this morning is James 4:1-10.
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James writes that the major cause of conflict in our lives and between each other is wanting what we don’t have. He then adds “you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (v. 3). How sad that we are so mistaken in our desires.
He warns that by being a friend of the world and indulging in its temptations we separate ourselves from God. This was the human problem from the moment we listened to evil’s call. However, we have been given God’s grace and mercy, and the spirit to help us “flee from the devil” (v. 7).
God wants us to be close to Him, by our own choice, not through fear. This passage closes with the joyful promise “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor (v. 10). He is a loving God and He stands ready to forgive us when we come in repentance.
Heavenly Father, we are sorry for the many times we have fallen into sin. Strengthen us in faith and make us the people You intend us to be, sent in Your name to share the Good News everywhere. Amen.