“1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” NRSV
Jesus brought to the world a system that opens the world to the blessings of God. It comes in stark contrast to the system by which the world chooses to live. That’s James’ point in the whole letter. There is God’s way and there is the world’s way.
James draws out the differences for his readers and then, in so many words, says “Choose!” and live with the consequences of your choice.
My church history professor in seminary had a favorite saying, “You pays your money, your takes your chances.” James is doing his level best to convince us that God is our only true choice, but requires more than our money. God requires our all. “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Be a blessing to someone today!