James 4

Do not turn away from God

1 You fight and quarrel among yourselves. Do you know why that happens? It is because of the troubles in your thoughts. You want to do bad things that you think will make you happy. 2 You want to have something for yourself, but you do not get what you want. You even kill other people. You try to take things that are not yours. But you cannot get them. So you fight and you quarrel with each other. But you do not have these things because you do not ask God for them. 3 Even when you do ask God, you do not receive anything. That is because you ask for the wrong reason. You just want to use these things to make yourselves happy.

4 You are turning away from God, like a woman who is not faithful to her husband. You choose to be friends with people who are against God. So you yourselves become enemies of God. You should know that! 5 The Bible says, ‘God has caused his Spirit to live in us. He wants very much to keep us for himself.’ Do you think that is not true? 6 But God will be very kind to us and he will help us. That is why the Bible says, ‘God is against those people who think that they are important. But he is kind to people who do not feel important.’ 7 So obey God's authority. Be strong against the Devil and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Be clean in the way that you live. Stop doing wrong things. Make your minds clean. You cannot love sin and love God at the same time. 9 Be sorry about your sins and weep. Stop laughing and instead be sad. Do not be happy but be very upset.

10 Be humble in front of the Lord God. Then he will lift you up to a good place.

11 My Christian friends, do not say bad things against each other. If you speak against another believer, you are really speaking against God's Law. If you judge another believer, then you are judging the law too. When you do that, you are not obeying the Law. You are giving yourself authority to decide what the Law says. 12 God is the one who gave his Law to people. Only he has the authority to judge whether people have done what is right. Only he can decide to save people or to destroy them. So you must not judge your friends. You do not have that authority.

Trust God every day

13 Some of you say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to a certain city. We will stay there for a year. We will buy and sell things, and we will become rich.’ If you say things like that, listen to me. 14 You do not know what will happen tomorrow. Your life is like a cloud which appears for a short time and then it quickly goes away. 15 So what you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord agrees and we are still alive, then we will do this or that.’ 16 But instead, you talk about what you have decided to do. You speak as if you have the power to make it happen. It is wrong to speak like that.

17 So you know the right thing that you ought to do. But if you know that and you do not do the right thing, then you have done a wrong thing.