Summary: James tells us how to turn hatred into humility, judgment into justice and boasting into belief.
There is a stark contrast in tone from chapter 3 to chapter 4
Chapter 3 (taming the tongue) closes with words like peace, gentleness, mercy, good fruits…it kind of ends on a good tone…but CH 4 contains words like fights, quarrels, lust, hate, envy, pride and sin. In CH 4 James gives clear advice on how to quell the storms that are so very detrimental to our spiritual growth and maturity.
CH 4 really is a prescription for a lot of the heartache that we bring upon ourselves as Christians in this world. Hatred, judgment and boasting are three internal struggles that can radically affect our outward lives.
There is a constant and often tragic strife that exists among God’s people. We as Christians struggle with many things. James is simply pointing out a pattern in some of our lives and offering a solution to save us some heartache. What is that solution? The answer is simple.
So many times our constant pursuit to satisfy our lust for pleasures and possessions…mixed with this compelling need to ‘outdo’ others, blurs our focus on what God wants for us.
James teaches us in CH 4 that a Christian must learn to turn HATRED into HUMILITY, JUDGEMENT into JUSTICE, and BOASTING into BELIEF.
You wouldn’t believe what getting these three elements out of your life will do for your walk with Christ. HATRED, JUDGMENT, BOASTING.
In verses 1-6 we learn how to turn hatred into humility. Inwardly we all struggle with some form of hate, whether we’ll admit it on the outside or not.
James tells us in verse 1 that our desires that we battle inside of ourselves is the very thing that causes fights and quarrels amongst us. We are constantly struggling to be SATISFIED. This pursuit of satisfaction cannot be quenched in worldly possessions or desires.
It’s just engrained in our culture. Some of us always need more ‘things’, while others are obsessed with climbing an endless ladder of status constantly trying to add value to our names. This struggle to find satisfaction outside of Jesus Christ gives birth to more hatred than you may be aware of!
We are never satisfied it seems, we always want more. There’s always something bigger, better waiting right around the corner. It seems we are constantly frustrated in our attempts to get what we want. This unfulfilled longing leads us to trample on anyone who gets in our way.
I’ve said this a million times so DON’T GET ME WRONG. God blesses some with wealth, there’s nothing wrong with that. But with that wealth comes a greater responsibility to give away. To help those in desperate need. It’s the times that we covet what others have that, that we try to live outside of our means to keep up with someone else has, that we start to lose humility. Humility seems to be the last thing we are looking for BECAUSE HUMILITY ONLY GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR SELFISH DESIRES. It’s hard to be humble when you’re never satisfied.
For the Christ follower this selfish pursuit for worldly satisfaction often leads to us demanding things from God that He never intended us to have. We start to argue with God. How ridiculous is this concept??
Don’t argue, don’t fight to get what you desire…James says, simply ASK! Pray! V3 So many times we ask with the wrong motives. Do you want things like possessions and status for the glory of God or for your own gain? Jesus, prayer on the Mount of Olives…not My will, but Yours.
Remember, we are to be IN the world not OF the world. A concept taught by Jesus in John 17:15-19
This can lead to a little confusion for the Christian sometimes…something James deals with in v 4
V4 is often misunderstood. Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God? Isn’t this counter what the likes of Jesus and Paul taught? Go into the world, and stop at nothing short of sin to tell the world about Jesus?? For God so loved the world John tells us.
What is James saying here? James is reinforcing what Jesus said in Matt 6:24…We cannot serve both God and money. I would lump the desire to achieve worldly status in with money.
We can’t effectively serve God while our true desire is to gain worldly possessions and status. The question isn’t ‘how difficult is it Kyle to have one foot marching with God and one foot planted in worldly desires?’ …it’s not difficult…it’s impossible.
Look, we display what we value by our use of time, energy and money. All are in limited supply. And God wants control of all of them.
Let me put it this way…a rebellious Christian who has an illegitimate relationship with the world…is not serving God.