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James Chapter 4

Audio Version

  • (James 4:1 KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

If you examine the reason behind quarrels and disputes it is usually caused by a lust of some kind.

It could be a lust to be in charge, the head or the chief. It could be a lust for things, higher pay, more benefits, more material possessions, and more land. It is not wrong to want a raise in salary, but the lust comes in when you are not thankful for what you already have, when your gain means a loss to someone else, or when making more money means more to you than friendship and love does. If you have to bend the truth, lie or cheat in business in order to make money than it is lust. If you can't be perfectly honest in business than it is lust. If you have to be the big boss and never be in subjection to someone else that is pride.

The bible says, in honor, prefer one another. If we truly kept the commandment "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," we would have no trouble with verse 1.

  • (James 4:2 KJV) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

This mostly speaks of wars and fighting among ourselves rather than a war between countries but how many wars between countries are over control, land and material gain. Hitler was not even satisfied with only Germany, he desired to rule, Russia, Austria and probably eventually the whole world.

Why were all the possessions of the Jewish people confiscated if not for lust for material gain? If we could only love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind we would have no trouble with these scriptures.

  • (James 4:3 KJV) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Here is another reason for unanswered prayer. Asking for things because of lust, envy and pride will not always be answered. We should be thankful that they are not. If the Lord answered all prayers like that we would eventually destroy ourselves. John warns against the love of the world. We can't love the world and the Father at the same time.

  • (James 4:4 KJV) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James goes so far as to call those who love the world as an adulterers. God should be our first love and the love of the world robs us of the love for our God. If a man had two wives it most probably would be impossible for him to love both the same, he would have to love one over another. Love is hard to divide. Our affection should be Christ first, other things last.

  • (James 4:5 KJV) Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Lusts to envy.

Human nature has a tendency to envy, lust and crave all the wrong things because of our inbred sinful nature inherited from Adam the first man to sin.

Jesus Christ, the last Adam, makes us free from sin and gives us a new nature. That is what being born again is. A new nature, a cleansing from sin, a new beginning, the living water flows within the inner being. It is a spiritual birth that is inward and cannot be seen by natural eye.

The actions of the person are sometimes seen but not the inner new birth. It is not outward religion or accepting of a religion. This is something that only God can give when we ask and repent of sins. Now through Jesus Christ, we can overcome lust and envy. We now have the power to resist those things and yield instead to the Holy Spirit.

  • (James 4:6 KJV) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

To receive this gift of God called the new birth, one must be willing to repent and humble ourselves in the sight of God. To be proud and not recognize our need of a savior will cause us to lose our souls and be lost forever. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

  • (James 4:7 KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

We can choose to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil or to reject the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If we resist the devil, he will flee. Draw close to God and He will draw close to us. We can choose life, cleansing and purity, or be double-minded, weak and resistant to the will of God.

  • (James 4:9 KJV) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Sin in ourselves and in our nation should cause us to mourn and weep. Our whole nation needs to mourn and weep over its many sins. We should not exalt ourselves over other nations and lord over them with a "Holier than thou" attitude but humble ourselves in the sight of God.

We need to repent as a nation, that we have become so hard hearted that we allow mothers to kill their own babies in the womb not only when they are just beginning to form but up until a few minutes from birth can they be slain. We ought to mourn and weep that this is going on in the United States.

We should mourn and weep that we have allowed the ACLU to rob our children of the right to pray and have bible study in the public schools. Without our God we would not have this country. The ACLU cries out against "censorship" if someone wants to ban a vulgar book from the public school library but they cry for "Censorship" if the bible is brought into the public school. They don't object to filth, trash and pornography but they object to the Holy Word of God. Something is bad wrong with this picture.

There is a move toward trying to make people feel good about themselves and raise their self-esteem. We should be humbling ourselves and repenting if there is sin in our lives not patting ourselves on the back because we have done a few good deeds. What good is it if we feed the hungry and provide health care but turn around and kill the unborn child?

We fight against child abuse on one hand and kill the child on the other. We have bitter and fresh water flowing from the same fountain. We are a nation of confusion. We claim to be good and do good for people and other nations but evil prevails within our borders. We send food overseas but we also send in filthy Hollywood movies that pollute the soul and encourage adultery, fornication and violence. Something is wrong here. Our nation needs to seek the cleansing and forgiveness of God.

  • (James 4:10 KJV) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Seek humility, seek repentance, seek God and seek to walk in His ways instead of what seems right in our own eyes.

  • (James 4:11 KJV) Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

Live in peace and harmony with one another and not backbiting, gossip and fault-finding but in love serve one another. If a fellow believer has a need, seek to help and fulfill that need. Be slow to believe rumors, fast to forgive wrongs and seek holiness, peace and godliness in our lives. Be a doer, not just a hearer.

  • (James 4:12 KJV) There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

God is the one all of us has to answer to, he is the final judge of all creation, He is the one to fear and give account to.

  • (James 4:13 KJV) Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
  • 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
  • 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
  • 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

High-mindedness, boasting and bragging should be avoided. Our conversation should always be "If the Lord wills."

My dad would never make promises. He would not even say, "He will do this or that." He would always say, "If the Lord's will." I don't remember him ever saying a yes or no when it pertained to the future or a future event.

  • (James 4:17 KJV) Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

This is a good definition of sin, "he that knows to do good and does not do good, it is sin."

James is a good practical book on Christian living. To heed his words is to become fruitful and abound in all good things. He mixes faith and action to prove that we have faith.

To heed these words is like receiving the seed of the word on good ground and bringing forth fruit a hundredfold.


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