Drawing Close to God
1What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
4You adulterers!*4:4 Greek You adulteresses! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.*4:5 Or They say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy; or They say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, opposes our envy. 6And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”*4:6
7So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Warning against Judging Others
11Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.*4:11 Greek brothers. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
Warning about Self-Confidence
13Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
17Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.