The source of virtually all problems believers have is their lust for things of world. Too often, when they see something or someone they want they forget about their Savior and go for it. This leads to sin and conflict with unbelievers and believers. We are commanded to not love the world and the things in it (1 John 2.15). When we love the world instead of God as we are commanded to (Deuteronomy 6.5) and the brethren (John 13.34) the love of God is not in us (1 John 2.15).
The lust of the flesh and eyes, and the boastful pride of life must be fought against. We must take steps to not indulge in them. Whatever your sin is you must eliminate it. If it is food you need to cut back and lose the excess weight. Obesity is a highly visible sign that a person has a major problem with one area of the flesh. Some people may have a physical propensity towards obesity, but even they can be normal if they conquer their lust for food. It is a battle we fight our entire lives, but through the power of our Savior we can have victory (Romans 7.24-25).
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:1-6).
Amazing as it sounds, during the First Century people who were members of the home churches committed murder. According to the Scriptures those who committed murder more than once were most likely not born anew. They claimed to be saved, but really were not for “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3.15).
There was a considerable amount of fighting among the brethren in the churches that James wrote to. They behaved like the wicked; that is one reason this letter was written. It was also written for the edification of millions of believers throughout the Church Age. This does not mean we do not have to take responsibility for our lives. We still have to work for a living (2 Thessalonians 3.10) and care for our selves and our families. We are to do our part, and trust in God to do what we cannot do.
When we do anything in life we should ask God for guidance, and consult with our pastors or a member of the church that they designate to handle counseling. Another problem far too many believers have is asking for things to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. When we ask God for anything we must first be living according to His will (Romans 12.1-2) and we must ask according to His will (1 John 5.14). If we delight ourselves in the Lord, commit our way to Him and trust in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37.4-6) and make our ways successful (Psalm 1.1-3).
Pride Promotes Strife
In James 4:4, he hits his readers over the head with a club by calling them adulteresses. They were not walking in the SPIRIT, but were instead walking after the lusts of the flesh. They were trying to fit into the wicked world system and at the same time serve God. They either had never heard what Jesus said about serving God and mammon (Matthew 6.24) or they did not believe it. The Gospel written by Matthew had not been written at this time, but the teachings of Jesus had been passed on by word of mouth. No one can love the world and the things in it, and love God at the same time. Those believers who love the world do not have the love of God in them (1 John 2.15).
These backslidden believers had become intimate friends with the world and in so doing had become enemies of God (Romans 8.7). It is impossible to be a friend of the wicked and a friend of God at the same time. Believers who think they can be are deluded, and are in a backslidden condition.
We are to be friendly to all people, but we are not to make friends with the wicked and fellowship with them:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty'” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
This command does not apply only to marriage and business deals with unbelievers. It applies to everything. You cannot go anywhere or do anything with an unbeliever without fellowshipping with him. You have nothing in common and should never do anything with an unbeliever except share the truth with him or help him in time of need.
The primary thing we should do with unbelievers is bring them to services or church events and eat dinner with them as Jesus did. He ate with the wicked for the sole purpose of sharing the gospel with them (Luke 19.5, 9-10; Luke 7.34-50).
God is very jealous of our allegiance, loyalty and obedience to Him. He demands total perfection (Matthew 5.48), and He does not settle for anything less. We settle for less and that is the problem. We must not become complacent in our walk. When we do we backslide down the slippery slope of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and sometimes wake-up in the pit of apostasy.
The life we live in the SPIRIT is not easy, it is a cosmic struggle that never slows down. We are fighting our lusts (1 John 2.15-17) and the rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6.12). The enemy never lets up, takes off on holidays or goes on vacation, and neither can we.
We must be in constant prayer (1 Thessalonians 5.17), be hearing the Word of God every day (Deuteronomy 6.3-4; Proverbs 1.5, 8; 2.2; 4.1, 10, 20; 5.1; Romans 10.17), reading It daily (Matthew 21.42; 24.15; Revelation 1.3), studying it daily (Acts 17.11), memorizing It (Psalm 119.11; Proverbs 2.1; 3.1,3; 4.1), meditating on it day and night (Joshua 1.8; Psalm 1.2), teaching It (Deuteronomy 6.7; Matthew 28.19-20; 2 Timothy 2.2), fellowshipping with the brethren (Hebrews 10.24-25) and sharing the gospel with the lost (Deuteronomy 6.8-9; Psalm 57.9; 119.46; 145.11-12; Matthew 28.19-20; 1 Peter 3.15).
If you are not praying without ceasing; hearing, reading and studying the Word daily; memorizing and meditating on the Word day and night; fellowshipping with the brethren regularly, teaching the Word; and sharing the gospel regularly you are complacent and giving less than all you can. This is just the foundation of your walk in faith. Upon this you build your house of good works (1 Corinthians 3.12-15).
Even with all the sins of believers that James wrote about in chapter four, and the sins of believers throughout the ages God still extends His grace to them. This grace is not the grace that saves, but the grace that keeps us in fellowship with Him. We can only have fellowship with Him if we submit to Him and humble ourselves before Him. Until we do that we cannot have fellowship with Him.
This is not a one-time act, but an on-going process. Every time we sin we break fellowship with God. To re-establish fellowship we must confess the sin (1 John 1.9), submit to Him, humble ourselves before Him, spend a few minutes or more in the Word to refocus our minds which should be set on the things above (Colossians 3.2) and then go our way serving Him.