Chapter four is the shortest chapter in James; however, that doesn't make it any less important.
Arguably, in today's society, this is one of the most important parts of James.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasure.” (4:3)
I have heard this verse interpreted many different ways, but let’s take it as is.
We know that God doesn't always give us what we want. According to this, sometimes it’s because we ask for things to fulfill our own pleasures.
I feel like that's about as straightforward as it can get.
When we are asking for things that will simply benefit us, we will not necessarily receive it.
Does this mean that we should not pray to God for help or wisdom?
Of course not. God calls for us to come to him in troubling times.
“...Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (4:4)
So. No friends?
To be a friend of the world is to follow the sinful ways of man.
We cannot choose to pursue the wicked ways of man while trying to please a righteous God.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (4:7-8)
I don’t have a comment on this verse. I just felt like I would be doing you a disservice if I did not include this part.
“Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” (4:9-10)
The first time I read this, I was so incredibly lost. What does this mean?
My leader explained it to us as this: Be humble. Do not be obnoxiously prideful in yourself or your things.
So basically, be humble.
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy…” (4:12)
Wait for it! My favorite part!
“But you- who are you to judge your neighbor?” (4:12)
That is such a powerful statement. And I want you to answer it.
But you- who are you to judge your neighbor?
Think about this the next time you go to judge someone.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (4:14-15)
Remember, God is in charge. You are not.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (4:17)
That was just another good verse to think about.
It is hard to be a Christian in today’s society. Luckily, God has given us the tools needed to still be able to follow Him and His ways- AKA, Bibles. Let’s make sure we use them.