SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO GOD
James goes into detail on what is true and what is not. Like each of the chapters this one contains some very powerful messages that will challenge you thinking. The introduction by the Life Application New Testament Commentary is very long but I copy pasted the last part because of its importance.
Life Application New Testament Commentary says:"We need to feel the impact of these same truths as James describes situations that are only too true in churches today. The quarrels and fights that James observed still characterize the life of the body of Christ and seriously hamper the effective communication of the gospel. Outsiders who look to the church as a place of solace and salvation often find it is full of strife. We desperately need God’s wisdom in our churches."
James 4:1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?
I do not like to copy the Life Application New Testament Commentary for everything but this verse James 4:1 the commentary is very necessary and very well written. "4:1 The word quarrels refers to fighting without weapons, as in personal conflicts. These conflicts have nothing to do with quarrels with the pagan world; these are quarrels within the church, among believers. James is describing a condition where a group has come to a state of war, with open skirmishes breaking out among people. Sides have been chosen, positions have been dug in. In cases like this, believers have ceased being peacemakers (James_3:18); instead, they live in open antagonism toward one another. The word fights refers to battles with weapons, an armed conflict. It was used figuratively to indicate the struggle between powers, both earthly and spiritual.
Obviously, disagreements will occur in every church. But when they happen, are we wise enough to understand why? Do we know their source? When handled correctly, with godly wisdom, they can lead to growth. Sadly, however, some churches become permanent battlegrounds. New believers find themselves in a cross fire of arguments, resentments, and power struggles that may carry a veneer of spiritual truth, but are more often simply personal conflicts between people. In the process, innocent bystanders are sometimes deeply wounded. Many of us know people who have been alienated from the church because of a conflict that had nothing to do with the gospel.
Fights and quarrels are being caused, not by some external source, but by the people’s evil desires. When everyone seeks his or her own pleasure, only strife, hatred, and division can result. At war within suggests a raging battle fought between the desire to do good and the desire to do evil."
This was important to insure that you understand quarrels and fights in the first verse.
James 4:2 You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it.
This may be a bit extreme for you and I but think about the world. Isis in the Middle East is doing all of that. Iran wants all of the Jews exterminated. Throughout history there seems to be someone who wants what you have and will do any kind of harm to get it.
James 4:3 And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:4 You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
How many of us have prayed for something that was not within God's plan? I would love to have the new car or house or (add you own desire). Is that what God would like for you to have. I would love to have a new everything right now but that isn't going to happen and I know that. God will allow what I need unless I overrule that. That is what is known as a wrong motive. We all have some form of friendship with the world. We see and add on TV for a widget that would help us do our daily tasks. Should you get it or not? You can pray about it and If you have comfort in the purchase it most likely will be fine if the comfort comes from God. Satan can give you that good feeling except that feeling ultimately becomes an anchor. Adultery, stealing, drugs, etc. There is always a price to pay for Satan's good feelings. So how do you figure out the difference. Look at your purchase down the road and what will be the repercussions. If you need to get a cane because you are not stable the need is great and cost is small. Without the cane the cost could be very high. If you covet you neighbor's wife the $ cost is minimal but the aftermath can be extremely damaging to you, your family, the others family, your relationship with God and on and on it would go. Hollywood, with a few exceptions, is a great example of what not to do.