|James 4 |
1 Where do quarrels and fights come from among you? Do they not originate from your lusts that war within you?
2 You lust, and do not have; so you kill. You are full of envy and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. Yet do not have because you do not ask [God].
3 And when you ask, you do not receive because you ask with the wrong desires, intending to consume it on your lusts.
4 Adulterers, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God [and has committed adultery with the world].1
5 Do you think that the scripture said in vain, "The spirit that dwells in us lusts with envy?"
6 But he gives us more grace. Therefore he said, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
7 Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,2 you double minded. [James tells those in the churches who are still sinning to purify their hearts by drawing near to God; which occurs by persistently and patiently waiting on Him, listening and obeying what you hear the Lord command you.]
9 Be deeply penitent, and mourn, even weep [over your slavery to sin]; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up. [From the Word of the Lord within: "God gives grace to the humble. Professed weaknesses are the humility of the soul. Strive to be low; avoid mastery. Low, low, low."]
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. He who speaks evil of his brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
12 There is only one lawgiver, He who is able to save and to destroy; who are you that judge another?
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into a certain city and remain there a year, and buy and sell, and make a profit."
14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. For what is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
15 Instead you should say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
16 But now you rejoice in your boasting. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore anyone who knows what is right to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
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1 Adulterers, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God [and has committed adultery with the world]. Lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and pride of life are the enemies of God. Do not love the world or the things that are by the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything by the world, — the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eye, and the boastful pride of life (or possessions) — is not by the Father, but exists by the world. 1 John 2:15-16
As you begin to deny your former evil activities in the world, the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, drinking, carousing, etc., your friends will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. You will no longer have anything to gain from socializing with them. For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? Yes, they think it strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you. Your former social friendships will necessarily disappear, else they will hate you and persecute you; or worse, drag you back into the world as you seek their approval. Are you trying to win the approval of men, or of God?
Do not marvel, my brothers, if the world hates you. 1 John 3:13. If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, and because I have chosen you out of the world, the world therefore hates you. John 15:18-19
Don't make the mistake of assuming you are supposed to love everyone by socializing with them, thinking that Jesus visited sinners and synagogues, and so should you. You are incapable of showing the love of God to anyone until you have been purified and the love of God has been close to perfected in you. Everything Jesus said and did was exactly as he was ordered to by the Father, and when you are clearly under the control of the Spirit of God's promptings and orders, you too will be sent to worldly people, (including religious worldly people), with instructions; but until then, you should withdraw from social contact with the world much as possible. Remember, you can do nothing of value without the Lord's assistance: his timing, his words, his orders, his power. Friendship with the world is enmity with God, whoever wants to be a friend of the world is an enemy of God; be polite, but don't join in conversations and activities of the world. This doesn't mean that you won't be kind and courteous to those of the world with which your occupation brings you into association; just that you will not socialize with them, because it would be painful and harmful to you. Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity. 1 Cor 15:33
2 Draw near to God... purify your hearts. More evidence that a pure heart is not only possible, but required. James is writing to those in the churches, still captive to sin. Notice he says draw near to God. God is not found in sect meetings. God is not found in reading scriptures. You must go to him. You must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace.
Wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. You must endure to the end, when Christ brings salvation.
You must abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 1 John 2:28
Paul speaks of faith as: being obedient to the leading of the Spirit. See Footnotes 3 and 4 to Gal 3:24-25. Such faith can definitely purify the heart.
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