Daily Devotion in James 4
James discusses a sin that has robbed many of an opportunity to be fully satisfied. It has also stolen much joy that some could be enjoying.
This iniquity has often left some “emptier” than they were previously. As do all transgressions, this rampant sin gets people further away from God than they would ever imagine. It is the sin of lusting that is exposed in this chapter.
One’s longing desire for many of the world’s tempting offerings is often an attempt to meet spiritual needs in one’s life with worldly things. One will never be truly fulfilled that way. More will always be needed as one’s carnal appetite increases. Lust for power and riches have caused the deaths of unfathomable numbers in war (James 4:2). No matter the earthly treasure gained, the insatiable hole in one’s soul remains unfilled (James 4:3).
Covetous actions are identified as sin in the Bible. Attempts in asking God for things that will involve them in things God does not want them to have in the first place will not be granted (James 4:2-3).
The lust for what the world offers is identified as spiritual adultery (James 4:4). For the Christian, lusting for what the world offers is “cheating” and not being faithful to the One that created and saved him. God knows best what we should have in this life.
In attempting to get all this world offers, the coveter is disregarding something more important. They may have accumulated much of what this world offers in goods and social standings, but they may have become an enemy of God. An enemy of God will never have joy or peace.
“… whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4b
Perhaps, because of being in the world, we sometimes think too much like the unsaved. That may be why most battle the sin of coveting. Many have forgotten, or may never have learned, that God has a completely different value system than the unsaved do. Our creator knows what will help and what will hurt us. We need many of the things in the world to survive, but there comes the point when one forgets the difference between a “need” and a “want.”
God will provide for all our needs. If we seek Him first, He will meet our needs, and many of our wants (Matthew 6:33). Resist the temptation to be like the unsaved (James 4:7). We are on the winning side! Why should we desire what the losing side has?
When we draw close to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). When He is close to us, we will have a better relationship with Him and develop the mindset He wants us to have. We will ask for what we need properly (James 4:3), and He will provide all that the Christian needs. None of God’s children will ever be without what God deems necessary for them (Psalm 37:25).
“The best things in life are not things.”
Words to Understand:
Amiss: without cause; improperly
1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
11 ¶ Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.