James 4
Give Yourselves to God
1Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. 2You want things, but you don’t get them. So you kill and are jealous of others. But you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask God. 3Or when you ask, you don’t receive anything, because the reason you ask is wrong. You only want to use it for your own pleasure.
4You people are not faithful to God! You should know that loving what the world has is the same as hating God. So anyone who wants to be friends with this evil world becomes God’s enemy. 5Do you think the Scriptures mean nothing? The Scriptures say, “The Spirit God made to live in us wants us only for himself.”#4:5 “The Spirit … himself” Other possible translations: “God strongly desires the spirit that he made to live in us.” Or “The spirit that he made to live in us is full of envious desires.” See Ex. 20:5. 6But the kindness God shows is greater. As the Scripture says, “God is against the proud, but he is kind to the humble.”#Quote from Prov. 3:34.
7So give yourselves to God. Stand against the devil, and he will run away from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. You are sinners, so clean sin out of your lives.#4:8 so clean sin out of your lives Literally, “so wash your hands.” You are trying to follow God and the world at the same time. Make your thinking pure. 9Be sad, be sorry, and cry! Change your laughter into crying. Change your joy into sadness. 10Be humble before the Lord, and he will make you great.
You Are Not the Judge
11Brothers and sisters, don’t say anything against each other. If you criticize your brother or sister in Christ or judge them, you are criticizing and judging the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are not a follower of the law. You have become a judge. 12God is the one who gave us the law, and he is the Judge. He is the only one who can save and destroy. So it is not right for you to judge anyone.
Let God Plan Your Life
13Some of you say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money.” Listen, think about this: 14You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Your life is like a fog. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away. 15So you should say, “If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that.” 16But now you are proud and boast about yourself. All such boasting is wrong. 17If you fail to do what you know is right, you are sinning.
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