New International Reader's Version

James 4:1-17

Obey God

1Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? Isn’t it because of your sinful desires? They fight within you. 2You want something, but you don’t have it. So you kill. You want what others have, but you can’t get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t have what you want, because you don’t ask God. 3When you do ask for something, you don’t receive it. That’s because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures.

4You are not faithful to God. Don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to hate God? So anyone who chooses to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. 5Don’t you know what Scripture says? God wants the spirit in us to belong only to him. God caused this spirit to live in us. Don’t you think Scripture has a reason for saying this? 6But God continues to give us more grace. That’s why Scripture says,

“God opposes those who are proud.

But he gives grace to those who are humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)

7So obey God. Stand up to the devil. He will run away from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Make your hearts pure, you who can’t make up your minds. 9Be full of sorrow. Cry and weep. Change your laughter to mourning. Change your joy to sadness. 10Be humble in front of the Lord. And he will lift you up.

11My brothers and sisters, don’t speak against one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister speaks against the law. And anyone who judges another believer judges the law. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it. Instead, you are acting as if you were its judge. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. He is the God who is able to save life or destroy it. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Bragging About Tomorrow

13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money.” 14You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears. 15Instead, you should say, “If it pleases the Lord, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you brag. You brag about the evil plans your pride produces. This kind of bragging is evil. 17So suppose someone knows the good deeds they should do. But suppose they don’t do them. By not doing these good deeds, they sin.