Christians are called to follow God and not the world — to adhere to the Almighty's standards rather than culture's whims.
This is just one of the topics covered in the Book of James and James 4, in particular. It's a powerful lesson that can be difficult to learn and live out in an increasingly secular culture.
Some of the most well-known and revered verses that we will explore in this James 4 commentary are: James 4:7, James 4:17 and James 4:14.
Let's dive into these important scriptures and the lessons they teach to us all:
Love Not the World: James 4:4 (NIV)
"You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." - James 4:4 (NIV)
James 4:4 tells us that it's dangerous to choose the world over God. The text proclaims that we become "an enemy of God" when we choose friendship with culture and the world over adherence to the Lord and His standards.
This is a thought-provoking and convicting message that comes at a time when many people are struggling to adhere to faith amid changing cultural tides.
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Resist the Devil: James 4:7 (NIV)
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7 (NIV)
James 4:7 is one of the most well-known verses that one will typically find in any James 4 commentary.
The Book of James is all about authentic faith, so it's not shocking to see scripture in this book pointedly tell us to avoid Satan.
But what's interesting about James 4:7 is that we are given a blueprint surrounding how we can cause the devil to flee. It's simple: resist him. This is something we should actively do in our lives, and consistently following Christ is the best way to make it happen.
Don't Be 'Double-Minded': James 4:8 (NIV)
"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." - James 4:8 (NIV)
James 4:9 (NIV) also offers us an essential reminder not to be "double-minded." Rather than meandering around and being unsure which side we want to take — the world's or God's — we are called to be close to the Lord and to "purify" our hearts by following Him.
Life Is Short: James 4:14 (NIV)
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." - James 4:14 (NIV)
The next lesson in this James 4 commentary comes from James 4:14, which reminds us that life is short. Rather than worrying and panicking about tomorrow, we should consider where we stand today, particularly when it comes to our faith.
And if we know our lives are like "mist," then we have much to think about when it comes to how we live every moment of every day. From loving God to loving others, keeping a focus on eternity and the authenticity of our faith journey is essential.
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Do Good: James 4:17 (NIV)
"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." - James 4:17 (NIV)
Just as the Book of James reminds us that life is short and to "love not the world," the text also calls us to do the good we know we are called to do.
In fact, we are told that it is sinful to decline doing what is right when we know the good we are called to do and decide not to do it. So, let's all set out to do the right things in our lives.
That concludes this James 4 commentary. Remember, love God and love others and, in the process, "love not the world." You can read the Book of James in its entirety over at Biblica.
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