P’s and Q’s : James 4
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” (verse 1)
- What does God say is the reason for all arguments and conflicts by humans? What desires are warring inside you right now?
“You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (verses 2 & 3)
- For the next couple of verses, God inspired James to write using the pronoun “you.” As we go through these next couple of verses and questions, you will notice that God is pinpointing “you,” which really looks at who you are and your sinful nature. What are these verses saying about us as humans? How have you seen this lustful nature playout in your life?
These verses are saying that we do not have what we want because of our imperfect motives, and we do things we shouldn’t because of our sinful nature.
“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’”? (verses 4 & 5)
- Why is it that apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, we are considered adulteresses? How have you been a friend of the world this year?
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (verse 6)
- Why does God oppose the proud? Why does God give grace to the humble?
God opposes the proud because they are boasting/relying on their own strength and abilities rather than the Lord. God gives grace to the humble because these people recognize it is not them working, but God.
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (verses 7 & 8)
- God now transitions from our sinful nature and gives us instruction for how to live a humble life, pleasing to God. What are the five things God tells us to do in these verses? Which of these sticks out to you and why?
“Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (verses 9 & 10)
- What does God mean in verse 9 by instructing us to “be miserable” and also to “let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom”?
“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (verses 11 & 12)
- What are these verses saying about speaking against a brother? How have you spoken against someone this week?
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”(verses 13-15)
- What are these verses saying about the future? Today, what is something in your near future that you can give over to God?
- God knows our sinful nature.
- God opposes our sinful nature.
- God redeems our sinful nature when we submit to Him.