James 4:5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?
When I tried to decipher this verse the commentaries were miles apart. They went from what Mathew Henry wrote to a book that is now lost and we do not know what it said. Whichever it is we know that even when we have fully accepted God evil still persists around us and sometimes through us. The verses in Mathew Henry's commentary are the closest I could come to the true meaning.
From Matthew Henry's Commentary Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain - This verse is exceedingly obscure. We cannot tell what scripture St. James refers to; many have been produced by learned men as that which he had particularly in view. Some think Gen_6:5 : “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen_8:21 : “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Num_11:29 : “Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake?” and Pro_21:10 : “The soul of the wicked desireth evil.” None of these scriptures, nor any others, contain the precise words in this verse; and therefore St. James may probably refer, not to any particular portion, but to the spirit and design of the Scripture in those various places where it speaks against envying, covetousness, worldly associations, etc., etc.
To be sure that the meaning here is obscure but there may be a simple explanation. We continue to have free will even when we are fully ingrained with Christ. Emotions can bring out things that we have suppressed for years. Fortunately for us we have James 4:6
James 4:6 But He gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Humbling ourselves may for many of us prove to be difficult. We have one person who is running for president that is the opposite of humble it will be interesting to see how a mean attitude will work for him. Pro_3:34 The Lord mocks at mockers, but helps the humble.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.
There are words that I have spoken that as soon as they came out of my mouth I knew it was a mistake. In our world we often need to blow our own horn in order to be recognized for a job or other issues. I think that can still be done with a humble spirit. Quite often you need to let you work speak for you. You do not have to stand on a rooftop shouting REPENT SINNERS YOU ARE GOING THE HELL, that would only make people think you are a bit on the aggressive side. People should know you by your deeds, your attitude and the depth of your belief in God.