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James Chapter 4

Resist The Devil James 4: 7; 1 Peter 5:8




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James 4

A call to repentance
What causes the wars and fights among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasures that war within you? 2 You want what you don't have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motivation, you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever would be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the scripture says in vain: The Spirit that dwells in us yearns jealously. 6 But He gives more grace. Wherefore the scripture said: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. 7 Therefore, be subject to God and resist the devil, and the devil will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you doubleminded sinners, and purify your hearts. 9 Lament and mourn and weep, let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall exalt you.
   11 Brothers, do not speak evil against each other. He that speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 One only is the lawgiver and judge. He who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbour?

Human weakness
13 Come now, you that say that today or the next day we will go into this city and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. 14 Whereas you do not know what shall be the next day. What is your life? For you are as a vapour that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 15 For you ought to say: If the Lord wills it, we shall both live and do this or that. 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.



4:1 Sin comes from within the human heart, not from some external cosmic being. James draws a connection between the ‘wars’ within the mind of the individual weak believer, and the ‘wars’ between groups of believers within the church. Divisions start because individuals aren’t single-heartedly devoted to spiritual things. He repeatedly criticizes double mindedness (:8). James constantly highlights the human mind, processes deep within the heart of the individual, as the real arena of spiritual conflict- not in Heaven or ‘out there’ in the supposed ‘spirit world’.

4:4 We are as it were married to Christ; any unfaithfulness to Christ is therefore as adultery.

4:15 We should therefore unashamedly say “God willing” when talking about our plans, no matter if others look at us strangely.

4:16 Here we have the principle of knowledge bringing responsibility to Divine judgment.