James 4

This reading is James 4.

This short chapter is chock-full of important teachings. Some of the verses are so short it is easy to gloss over them.

We fight and quarrel because of our wrong desires. Verse 3 helps explain why some prayers are not answered: We ask with the wrong motives.

“Friendship with the world is hatred towards God” speaks volumes. The Bible uses “world” in three senses – the planet, the people in the world (as in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world . . .”) and the system and practices of the world. This verse uses the last meaning. This is a strong call for us to be different from the world. How tragic that according to many surveys, the average “Christian” doesn’t give much more than non-Christians, the divorce rate isn’t much different, etc. We aren’t supposed to be “holier than thou” different, but authentically different.

“God oppose the proud but gives grace to the humble” (v. 6) is a quote from Proverbs 3:34 and is also quoted in 1 Peter 5:5. Every verse matters, of course, but if something is repeated three times perhaps we should heed it!

Verse 8 contains a great promise – “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” As Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Verse 10 promises that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us up. Humility is often mentioned in the Bible, but it is nearly always in the context of humbling ourselves. It doesn’t say, “Be humble.” It is not our natural state, so it takes effort to be humble.

Verses 13-16 remind us that we should thank God for every day and every breath. We may live fifty more minutes or fifty more years – it is all up to Him.

We tend to think of sins as things we do that we shouldn’t have done (the sin of commission), but James closes this section by teaching that not doing the good we know we should do is also a sin (the sin of omission).

The next reading is James 5.

3 thoughts on “James 4”

  1. Verse by Verse…

    1. War comes from desires poorly dealt with.
    2. Asking God is an awful lot mroe effective then going about it on your own.
    3. Do not ask for sinful purposes.
    4. Love the world, hate God. No two ways about it.
    5. Who knows what this means? Not I!
    6. Live in humility.
    7. If you flee to God, He will save you: if only you resist evil, then His power is with you.
    8. If you seek to be close to God, purifying yourself, ti will work.
    9. Connected to v 8.
    10. If you are humble, He will exalt you.
    11. Talk badly about someobdy and you’re in deep trouble.
    12. God judges. Leave it to Him to judge.
    13-15: ‘Lord-willing’ really ought to go before all plans.
    16. Tied to the above.
    17. If you know what is right, and deviate from it, you sin.

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  2. Nice summary! I catch myself on the “Lord willing” part sometimes when I’m “planning” the future.

    The whole church needs a heavy dose of #4.

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  3. There are two alternate translations for verse 5 which might explain its meaning. They are as follows:
    “..that God jealously longs for the spirit that He made to live in us” – that is He longs for our faithfulness and our love. Or…”that the Spirit He caused to live in us longs jealously” referring to the Holy Spirit longing for our full devotion.

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