Warning against Worldliness: 4:1-6.
James deals here the worldliness and the conflicts within the Christian life. The quarrels that rage between people spring from within people. They do not come from heredity and environment but from the carnal desire within the believer. These are the fruit of the flesh nature within us (Gal 5:19-21). We have uncontrolled passion for pleasure and quarrel with one another (4:1-3). We sin because we are not satisfied with God . Lust and passion can take many forms. They will not give us lasting satisfaction. We pray and do not receive, because our motives are all wrong. We ask for things for personal gratification rather than for the glory of God. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart”. We must choose between love of God and love of the world (4:4). We engage in spiritual adultery by loving God and the world at the same time. Christian life begins with commitment to Christ. Unfaithfulness is repulsive to God. Friendship with the world has many meanings. The world system is under the influence of Satan, and it is opposite to God. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Christians can backslide and become worldly. Backsliding is the voluntary blindness toward the seriousness of sin. The Holy Spirit within us is not the source of evil (Rom 8:9). God gives us grace to overcome evil desires (Heb 4:16). God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Pro 3:34). Grace is God’s love and kindness that reaches down to undeserving sinners in Christ (Titus 2:11). Grace cannot be earned but can be received by faith (John 1:14). Peace flows from the matchless grace of God (Titus 3:4, 5). No sin is too great for God to forgive, if we humble ourselves before Him and confess.
Warning against proud Attitude: 4:7-12.
God gives grace to all those who are humble and seek him for help (4:6). His grace is greater than all our sins. If we live by grace, we draw near to God to confess our sin and mourn over it. The seven action words mentioned here explain how we can appropriate God’s grace in our life. First we must resist the devil by submitting to God’s authority. Only those who are willing to humble themselves before God will be exalted. Then we can live a life that is pleasing to God (James 4:7). We resist the devil by not giving into temptations. Draw closer to God and he will draw closer to you. The more we spend time in the word of God we are less likely to fail in temptations. “Cleanse our hands and purify our hearts”. This is a call to repentance of sin consistently. Harboring sin in life will give the Devil an opportunity to work in us and through us (1 John 1:9). We should not be double minded serving God and the world at the same time. We are in the world but not of this world. Serving God should become the priority in our life. We must mourn and weep over our sins. Think less of us and more of God and others. We should cease slandering the brethren. Humility and unity cannot be achieved by speaking evil against one another. He who judges the brother sets himself above the law (4:11). God alone is the true judge. Who are we to judge another? Pray that God would help you to have a humble heart and show the areas of pride that need to be addressed in your life.
Warning against Self confidence: 4:13-17.
Pride is the most dangerous of all sin and the root cause of all evil. There is nothing worse than spiritual pride. Humility is manifested in us when we turn from our prideful sin and entrust ourselves to God. Carnal man disregards God and make his own plans They do not recognize that all good and perfect gifts come from God including the ability to plan for the future (4:13; 1:17). Men take for granted that each day will last forever and they have earned it. They willfully forget about the frailty of life (Psalm 90:9-12). What is our life? It is like a morning fog that is transient and gone in a moment. So stop acting as though we know the future. Our plans and behavior should consistently demonstrate our dependence on God (Pro 3:5, 6). We should be mindful of our own moral limitations. Someone has said “The man who brags about future plans and ignores God’s sovereignty, is foolish in all his evil ways”. Instead we should say “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”. Boasting shows our arrogance which is evil and overlooks our own failures. Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (4:17). Only God knows our future. So trust your future to Him who works all things for his glory and purpose.