Obviously there were some divisions and disputes among the early church. James wrote his epistle to the Jewish Christians who had been scattered abroad because of persecution. He addressed problems they had with prejudice and partiality, problems the tongue, and now he discusses fights and quarrels among them and shows them where these problems originate.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James 4:1
When we choose to follow Christ we’re given the Holy Spirit and a new nature, but we still have to battle the old fallen nature. We will have this struggle within until the day we meet Jesus.
When we get into a fight or argument we are quick to shift blame to the other person. We've all said, “You make me so mad!” Nobody makes you mad other than yourself. Frankly, most of our relationship problems exist because of unmet expectations.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet 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 wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:2-3
These believers desired what others possessed, but rather than praying for what they wanted they would fight, quarrel and murder. And when they did pray they still didn’t get what they wanted because they prayed with selfish motives. We don’t know if this means literal murder, but remember the scripture says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…” 1 John 3:15. God promised to supply all of our needs but not all of our wants. Jesus said whatever we ask according to His will, he would give it.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? James 4:4-5
Adultery is when you are married to one person and yet you are sleeping with someone else. Spiritual adultery is being married to Christ and sleeping with the world. You would be jealous if your spouse was an adulterer, and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit is jealous when were guilty of spiritual adultery with the world.
Worldliness elevates creature comforts to the point of idolatry; sex, money and lots of material goods become our god. Worldliness is preoccupation with temporal things of life and giving them more importance than the things which are eternal. We are not part of the world system, so why do we act as though we were? Engage the world but keep Christ at the center.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:6-7
We you read, study and memorize the Word of God, you have an effective offensive weapon to use when tempted and the Holy Spirit will enable you to resist the Devil. Remember the Word is an essential part the armor of God. You’re no longer a slave to sin. You can choose to resist temptation.
God wants to give us more grace, but He can't help you when you're proud and refuse to repent of sin. First submit to God; then you can effectively resist the devil.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:6-9