What Does James 4:5 Mean?

Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"?

James 4:5(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

We are called into the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, but too often there is strife and acrimony among believers and feuds between Christian workers or groups of believers. James identifies the cause of conflict as being pride and self-elevation - or a desire to excel in the midst of one's brothers and sisters in Christ.. or the thrill of worldly applause.

This is not how the body of Christ should function for it dishonours the Lord Who bought us. This is not the way Christian brethren should behave toward one another, and yet there is division in many churches, which is so contrary to Scripture and is opposite of God's yearning desire that His children live godly lives that honour Him.

James is not speaking of unbelievers in this passage but those that are born-again, and it is a shocking and sad situation that the sort of quarrels and conflicts, covetousness and resentments, fights and quarrels and worldly carnality about which James is speaking continues to be the behaviour some Christians have towards their fellow believers - even today. 

No wonder we are reminded that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. No wonder we are instructed to submit to God and not to be governed by our own whims and desires. No wonder he asks the question..."do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose when it says that 'the Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us? How amazing to realise that God yearns for the Spirit to be welcome with a jealous love. How it must grieve the Spirit of God when His children behave in this ungodly manner.

Although this quote from James is not found in any Old Testament scripture, the general theme it addresses is scriptural, for we have the Spirit of God permanently living within our heart, and the behaviour James opposed in this passage is antithetical to the way God desires His children to conduct themselves. Self-elevation and a worldly spirit is diametrically opposite to the way God desires us to live our lives.

God's deep yearning is that we walk in spirit and truth and conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to Him. He wants each one of His children to grow in grace day by day and to be conformed into the image and likeness of His dear Son.

We are not to permit our human spirit to lust for the things of the flesh.. nor are we to permit fleshly pride to prevent us from living as God desires us to live.  We should not be influenced by the things of this world but should humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, as we die to our own desires and live our life in a manner that pleases Him and honours His name. 

May we be careful not to follow after our own carnal cravings and worldly desires, but to be mindful of the will of our heavenly Father.. to say and do only those things that bring glory to His name and to jealously guard the things that honour our Lord and Saviour.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing privilege of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who desires us to be holy for You are holy. Keep me from engaging in strife and acrimony and help me never to foster carnal attitudes or crave after the things of this world. Help me to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and to be careful of needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that I may think of others before myself and ask that I may truly die to my own desires... and jealously live for Your praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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