James 4: Move Closer to God

What brings an end to war?

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James 4:1–2 What causes quarrels and fighting among you? Isn’t it because of your conflicting self-serving desires? You want things but don’t have them, so you plot and prey upon others to get them. Still you don’t get what you want, because you’re not asking God for what he wants.
King James
James 4:1–2 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

What are the best ways to get what we want?

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James 4:3 Even when you ask, your motives are wrong when you seek more for yourself, not to help others.
King James
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

For what reasons might people seek to help others rather than themselves?

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James 4:3 Even when you ask, your motives are wrong when you seek more for yourself, not to help others.
King James
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Why does friendship with the world make us an enemy of God?

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Romans 8:6 When we set our minds on the needs of the flesh, our relationship with God is severed, and we die. But when we set our minds on what God wants to work in us, we find life and peace.
James 4:4 You unfaithful spouses, don’t you know that what’s acceptable in society can be abhorred by God? A friend of the world is an enemy of God.
King James
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

What causes people to covet what others have?

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Exodus 20:17 Do not desire your neighbor’s house, his wife, or his servants. Do not wish you had his animals or anything that he owns.
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is dwelling in us, then our fleshly bodies will experience abundant life in the Spirit.
Romans 13:9 All of God’s commandments—to not covet—to avoid lying, cheating and stealing—to never commit adultery or murder—all these are fulfilled in one simple act of obedience: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
James 4:5 Does Scripture have such little value that your spirit covets what others have, being envious?
King James
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Why do people often fear change?

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James 4:6 But God rewards us with the opportunity to change, which is why Scripture says, “God scorns the scorners but favors the humble.”
King James
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

What makes temptation resistible?

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Ephesians 6:11 To stand against all the forces of evil, you need to put on the whole armor of God.
James 1:14 People are tempted when their desires take them in a direction different from where God would have them go.
James 4:7 Completely surrender your will to whatever God wants. Then your resistance to the devil is an absolute no, and he has no reason to hang around.
King James
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

What should we do if our effort to move closer to God doesn’t seem to be working?

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Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little ones that harm the vineyard, because our vines have tender grapes.
Luke 22:61–62 Jesus turned and looked at him. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went outside and broke down crying.
James 4:8–9 Move closer to God, and he will move closer to you. Wash your hands of wrongdoing and purify your hearts with good motives. Don’t live a double life, but have a single focus upon what the Lord wants. Repent of your wrongdoing and cry in sorrow for what you have been. Let your arrogance turn to mourning, your flippant attitude to being grieved.
1 John 3:3 Those with hope in Christ should strive to be without sin, just as he is.
King James
Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Luke 22:61–62 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
James 4:8–9 Move closer to God, and he will move closer to you. Wash your hands of wrongdoing and purify your hearts with good motives. Don’t live a double life, but have a single focus upon what the Lord wants. Repent of your wrongdoing and cry in sorrow for what you have been. Let your arrogance turn to mourning, your flippant attitude to being grieved.
1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

What does it mean to be humble? Why is it beneficial? What has to be sacrificed?

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James 4:10 Humbly bow before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
King James
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

As a servant of God, what is our most important function? Why?

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Matthew 22:36–39 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”
“You must love God with your whole heart, with all your being and all your strength. This is the first and most important of all commandments. But the second commandment is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
James 4:11–12 If you can’t say something good about someone, say nothing at all. Criticizing others makes you judge and jury, but that’s not your calling. You are to be God’s servant, not a police officer. God who gave the Law is the only righteous judge with the power to save or destroy. So you have no right to pronounce sentence upon others.
King James
Matthew 22:36–39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
James 4:11–12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Why might the world’s success formula to “plan your work and work your plan” be flawed?

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Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right but ends in death.
Proverbs 16:9 People want to map their entire journey, but God shows them only the next step.
Luke 12:18–20 “I know. I will tear down my granaries and build bigger ones in their place. Then I will have enough room for all my goods, and I can tell myself, Now you can relax and enjoy life because you have saved enough to last for many years. Eat, drink, and be merry. But God said, ‘You fool! Tonight, you will die, so what good is all the wealth you have accumulated?'”
James 4:13–16 If you think your plan is important, think again. You say, “Maybe today but tomorrow for sure we’ll go to the city and stay for a year, doing big business and making lots of money.” You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Will you even be alive? Your life is as certain as the clouds, present now but maybe not tomorrow. Therefore, what you ought to say is this: “Whatever the Lord wants—that’s what I live to do each day.” Otherwise, you are boasting of what you will do independent from what God wants, and that’s wrong.
King James
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
Luke 12:18–20 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
James 4:13–16 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

Why do people sometimes have a difficult time defining sin?

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Acts 9:5 “Sir, who are you?” Saul said, and the voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. How hard it is for you to resist my prodding.”
Romans 1:32 They know what is right and pleasing to God, and they know wrongdoing has severe consequences. Yet not only do they persist in their behavior, but they also encourage and enjoy fellowship with others who do the same things.
James 4:17 Sin is failure to do the good you know you should do.
King James
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.