Subject Yourselves to God

From where are conflicts and from where are quarrels among you? Is it not from this, from your pleasures that wage war among your members? You desire and do not have; you murder and are filled with envy, and are not able to obtain; 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, in order that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that in vain the scripture says, “The spirit which he caused to dwell in us desires jealously”?[a] But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.”[b]

Therefore subject yourselves to God. But 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! Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your[c] joy to gloominess. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

11 Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. The one who speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of the law.[d] 12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your[e] neighbor?

Arrogant Boasting About the Future

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there, and carry on business and make a profit,” 14 you who do not know what will happen tomorrow[f], what your life will be like[g]. For you are a smoky vapor that appears for a short time and then disappears. 15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to the one who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.


  1. James 4:5 This translation takes “spirit” to be the capacity within people that produces a divided mind and conflicts regarding God; other translations take this to refer to the Holy Spirit: “He (God) jealously desires the Spirit which he caused to dwell in us”
  2. James 4:6 A quotation from Prov 3:34
  3. James 4:9 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  4. James 4:11 The words “of the law” are not in the Greek text, but are an understood repetition from the previous clause
  5. James 4:12 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  6. James 4:14 Literally “the circumstance of tomorrow”
  7. James 4:14 Literally “of what sort your life”