"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it, You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us tends toward envy but he gives us more grace? That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:1-8
Aren't these verses so relevant to today?? Fights and quarrels are going on everywhere around us - whether it's a political argument or a family feud that might last years! Even reality TV shows that focus on people who can't get along. We can all relate in some way to the wisdom that James shares with us today. "The desires that battle within us" will be a lifetime struggle - even to the most experienced of Christians. That "good against evil" is always going back and forth within us. Fights and quarrels are always about selfishness in some way.
"You do not have because you do not ask God" is a sentence that has often been taken out of context. Many people believe that if you are "Godly" or "Religious" you should be able to ask for almost anything and get it. That way of thinking is so twisted. Our requests can only be God glorifying - we can never pray for selfish reasons. I'm not saying that it's selfish if, for example, you are praying for the strife in your marriage to be resolved - that's not selfish because a healthy marriage glorifies God. Our motives are the key to our requests.
There are 3 possibilities if you pray for something for years and years with no answer -
1. God is teaching you something (like patience) through your asking
2. Your motives are wrong
Always check your motives before you ask God for something.
3. The answer might be "no" but you are not able to accept that as an answer.
James uses some harsh words - "friendship with the world is hatred toward God". This is black and white - there is no gray area here. Now this doesn't mean that we are not to love the people in the world - I'm sure you've heard the saying: "Jesus loves the sinner but hates the sin." "Friendship with the world" means that you are acting like the world and taking those customs as your own. When you become like the world you are hating God.
Definition of "Submit" - "to yield or surrender oneself to the will or authority of another. To stop trying to fight or resist something. Succumb, give in to, bow to, defer to." Merriam-Webster & Free Dictionary
Being humble and submitting to God is the only way to avoid being friends with the world. Remember - it is impossible to be humble and selfish at the same time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: "Resist the devil and he will flee" - You know that we are Christian Soldiers fighting a spiritual battle - if you ever feel oppressed or under fire from Satan - all you have to do is say out loud: "In Jesus name I rebuke you Satan" or "I plead the blood of Christ
"- You will feel that oppression go and that weight lift off your shoulders.