In the fourth chapter, James addresses the desires from within us that lead to killing or jealousy.
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.James 4:1-3
James says that we want something but don’t get it, and that leads to fighting and arguments. It’s this obsession with “things” that drives humans to do whatever they must to acquire those things. He also says that they don’t have because they don’t ask God. But even when they do ask, they are asking for the wrong reasons.
I think it kind of goes back to that command to ”love your neighbor as yourself“. It’s not that there is anything wrong with being wealthy. Someone who has much could spend their money to buy whatever they desire, but it might be better to help others who are less fortunate as well. We must ask God with a pure heart.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:4-6
One who loves money more than other humans makes an enemy of God. A world-system that chooses wealth at the expense of relationships is bound for hell. Choosing this type of world is an act against God.
Verse 6 actually quotes Proverbs 3:34. No matter what position in life we find ourselves we can choose the attitude that we view life and how we choose to treat others. Rich or poor God is looking for humble people and God will always have grace for them.
We’ll continue tomorrow with more wisdom from James…