James 4:9

This passage is a powerful and heart-stirring appeal to those professing Christians whose hearts had been full of worldly "pleasures" (ver. 3), and whose hands had been occupied with "wars and fightings." Within these four verses there are no fewer than ten verbs in the imperative mood; but the cardinal precept of the whole paragraph is the exhortation to submission, with which it both opens and closes. The other counsels in vers. 7-9 have reference to elements of conduct which are included in subjection to the Divine will.

I. THE DUTY OF SUBMISSION TO GOD. (Vers. 7, 10.) The immediate connection of "therefore" in ver. 7 is with the quotation at the close of ver. 6. "God sets himself in array against the proud; therefore, be subject unto God." You must either willingly humble yourselves, or be precipitately humbled by Divine Providence. "God giveth grace to the humble; therefore, be subject unto God." Clothe yourselves with humility, that you may enjoy this "grace." "Be subject" to the Captain of your salvation, as a good soldier is to his commander. Subjection to God includes:

1. Acquiescence in his plan of salvation. These Christian Jews of the Dispersion were to' avoid the sin of the Hebrew nation generally, in "not subjecting themselves to the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). And we "sinners of the Gentiles" must throw away that pride of self-righteousness which tempts us also to reject a method of redemption from which all boasting is excluded. We must make the blood of Jesus our only plea, and surrender our hearts to the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit.

2. Obedience to his law. If we submit ourselves to the righteousness of God in the gospel, we shall begin to reverence and admire and obey the moral law. We shall be willing that God should reign over us and rule within us. We shall allow him to control us in body and mind, in intellect and conscience, in heart and will, in act and habit. We shall forsake our sins. We shall long and labor to be holy.

3. Acceptance of his dealings in providence. We are to be contented with the lot in life which God has assigned to us. We are to be willing to receive evil as well as good at his hand. We must bear affliction patiently, not because it is useless to murmur, but because it is wrong to do so. In our times of sorrow we must not challenge God's sovereignty, or impugn his justice, or arraign his wisdom, or distrust his love. The spirit of Christian submission says, "Let us also rejoice in our tribulations" (Romans 5:3).

II. ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER WHICH ENTER INTO THIS SUBMISSION. These are set forth in the body of the passage (vers. 7-9).

1. We must resist Satan. (Ver. 7.) To "be subject unto God" necessarily involves resistance to God's great enemy. Human nature has in it the element of combativeness; and the greater any man's force of character, he is likely to be the more thorough a hater. But the Christian should not "fight and war" with his fellow-believers; his quarrel is to be with Satan, and with Satan's works. We are to "resist" the devil; we must not dispute or parley with him. We must not "give place" to him (Ephesians 4:27) by cherishing covetousness or envy; for, if we allow him any place at all, he may speedily take possession of the entire area of the heart. If, on the contrary, we "stand up against" Satan, "he will flee" from us. The power of the truth, the power of faith, the power of prayer, will silence his artillery. There is no giant temptation which may not be overcome with some small stone out of the brook of Holy Scripture, if we hurl it from the sling of faith, and with an arm guided by the Holy Spirit.

2. We must come near to God. (Ver. 8.) The design of all Satan's assaults is to prevent us from doing so; and the best way in which to "resist" him is resolutely to "draw nigh." What a blessed privilege to us sinners to be allowed to approach to the holy, just, and merciful Jehovah! He has opened for us a new and living way of access by the blood of Jesus. We draw near

(1) when we pray, for prayer is just the converse of the soul with God;

(2) when our deepest soul-longings go out towards him, who alone can be our Portion; and

(3) when, along with our supplications and our heart-yearnings, we live a pure and godly life. Nor shall any man who truly seeks God seek him in vain. God will be propitious to him, and visit him, and take up his abode with him.

3. We must put away our sins. (Vers. 8, 9.) For we cannot really "draw nigh" to God if we persist in hugging them. The act of coming near involves repentance; it carries with it resolutions and endeavors after amendment. We must "cleanse our hands" from the open sins of which our neighbors may be cognizant, and "purify our hearts" from those secret faults which are known only to God. Self-loathing should possess us when we realize our covetousness and double-mindedness, our divided affections and unstable spiritual purposes. Our repentance must be such as to involve us in misery; and we must cry out to God for pardon. Does any one object that we have in this a somewhat gloomy picture of the religious life? The answer is, that such is only a representation of it upon one side. Here we see the shadows of the life of grace; but its shadows are only the reflection of its joys. It is a blessed mourning of which the text speaks; and they that mourn thus "shall be comforted." Godly repentance is the true humility; and it conducts to the highest exaltation. "He shall exalt you" (ver. 10), giving you always "more grace" in this life, and a rich reversion of glory in the life to come. - C.J.

Draw nigh to God.
I. THE DUTY here required of us by the apostle principally implies a life of prayer and devotedness to God, as contrasted with the careless indifference or the dull formality of nominal or pretended Christians.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT given to perform this duty. What great reason have we to be animated in our Christian warfare by the presence and support of the Lord of hosts!

III. THE IMPORTANCE of obeying this injunction to our final happiness and security.

(John Grose, M. A.)

Worshipping with a pious heart is evidently the manner of drawing nigh to God, which the apostle had in mind when he penned the text. Under the Jewish dispensation, drawing near to God in worship was a more literal thing than it is under the Christian dispensation. In the temple, God had His dwelling-place as a King in His palace. It will not be understood from this that Jewish worship was only of this outward, ceremonial character. The heart was required of them as well as of us (Isaiah 29:13, 14). Nevertheless, under the Christian dispensation, the worship of God is more strictly of a spiritual character. The duty of worshipping God is no less the dictate of reason and of common sense, than of Scripture. It has been the sentiment of mankind, universally, that children ought to cherish peculiar respect fur their parents. So men have always deemed it proper to specially regard and honour those high in authority. Can those who thus honour parents and magistrates deny the obligation to do homage to Him who is at once their Maker, their Sovereign, and their Judge? Prayer.


1. God has enjoined it. It must be counted reasonable to do what God has commanded, and most unreasonable to disregard His positive injunctions. "Men ought always to pray and not to faint." — "Continuing instant in prayer." — "Pray without ceasing."

2. The reasonableness of prayer may be shown from the example of the Saviour.

3. The reasonableness of prayer is manifest when we consider what we are —(1) As needy and dependent creatures. Every hour of our lives brings with it wants which must be supplied, or we suffer and die.(2) As sinful and unworthy creatures. No one has, or can have, any other idea of prayer, than as being addressed to the mercy of God; and when that mercy invites us freely to come and make known our desires, it is most unreasonable in us not to avail ourselves of the privilege.(3) As dying and accountable creatures. Who can feel easy in view of future accountability, whose heart has never been sufficiently grateful to acknowledge the Divine goodness, nor sufficiently humble to confess its sins and seek the Divine forgiveness?

4. As showing the reasonableness of prayer, consider the benefits of a persevering attendance on this duty. Prayer is the way to a life of communion with God — a means of keeping up an acquaintance with, and of growing in the knowledge of God. It is a most excellent, yea, an essential means of nourishing the new nature, and of causing the soul to prosper. It is a good preservative from sin; as it is said, "praying will make us leave sinning," or "sinning will make us leave praying."


1. This may be seen by considering the nature of the exercise itself. Prayer usually embraces three things — praise, confession, and supplication. The ascription of praise to God is certainly a delightful exercise to every grateful heart. A grateful heart is burdened with a sense of obligation until it finds relief in rendering a tribute of thanks to Him who is the Giver of every good and every perfect gift. Confession of sin is a part of prayer full of blessedness. What a blessed hour was that to the poor prodigal when he came to himself, and said, "I will arise and go to my father." Supplication, too, as a part of prayer, is a blessed exercise.

2. We may learn the blessedness of prayer by its effect on the character of him who offers it, and also by the blessings bestowed in answer to it.

(F. Snyder.)


1. If we are truly and devoutly desirous of drawing nigh to God, one of our earliest considerations will naturally be, how unfit we are to come to Him. This will lead us to a serious examination of ourselves: to a review of our past conversation; and a comparison of it with the rule of His commandments.

2. We must draw nigh to God with firm resolutions of continuing, through His grace, in His service during our whole lives.

3. We must draw nigh with sincerity.By sincerity I mean here a desire to know and do the whole will of God.


1. Can we approach without ardent love?

2. It becomes us, when drawing nigh to Got, to cherish the spirit of obedience.

3. Our most intense desires should ascend above all temporal blessings.


1. Several things are implied in this promise.

(1)It imports the manifestation of His presence. He is ever nigh, but He makes Himself known in a gracious manner only to those who seek Him.

(2)It implies infinite condescension.

2. Several benefits are imparted by the fulfilment of this promise.

(1)The mind derives from it pure and sacred pleasure. "A soul in converse with her God is heaven."

(2)A state of security ensues. If God draw nigh to us, it is not to forsake us immediately afterwards. But if God be with us, we have nothing to fear.


1. In coming to God, we come to Him who is the blessed and only Potentate; the King of kings, the Lord of lords; who only hath immortality; who, by His word, framed the worlds; and, by the same word of power, upholdeth all things; in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

2. In coming to Him, we come to our Redeemer.

3. In coming to Him, we come to our Judge.

(T. Townson, D. D.)

1. There are certain indispensable prerequisites.

(1)We must possess a knowledge of God.

(2)We must be convinced of our dependent state.

(3)We must embrace the plan of reconciliation by Jesus Christ.

2. There are certain dispositions which must be the accompaniments of prayer.

3. Communion begets resemblance. And can we have been often with the holy God, and not be holy?

(O. A. Jeary.)

1. Touching the commandment, and the precept enjoined, is to draw near to God. That we are commanded to draw near unto God, doth it not insinuate unto us that naturally we are estranged and alienated from Him? (Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 5:25).

2. To which short precept is set down a like promise: draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Which promise is as a reason to move us to draw near to God. He is ready to offer Himself, and is pressed at hand to all such as come near unto Him, to make them to feel the comfort of His presence. God may be said to draw near to man divers ways.(1) By the manifestation of His majesty, as to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and others (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 18:1; Genesis 26:1; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:24; Exodus 33:23; Exodus 24:1; Exodus 3:2).(2) He draweth near also unto man by the revelation of His will. He drew nearest thus to Israel His people, to whom He gave His law and statutes, whereby He became familiar unto them.(3) By the graces of His Spirit, which imparting unto men He draweth near thereby unto them (John 14:18; Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:1; Acts 3:3).(4) God draweth near to men by pouring out His temporal benefits upon them, health, wealth, honour, and sending them deliverance out of their trouble (Deuteronomy 4:7; Philippians 4:5; Psalm 69:18; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 46:1).(5) God draweth near unto men in offering His mercy, showing His favour, assisting with His help, multiplying His livingkindness unto them.(6) God finally draweth near unto us in a spiritual union with man, through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, whereby God is united unto us and we to Him, by which means God dwelleth among us, and is made manifest in the flesh, as St. John and St. Paul speak. And therefore Christ is Emmanuel. Where, then, the apostle saith draw near to God, and He will draw near to you, he speaketh chiefly of drawing near by His grace, favour, mercy; who enlargeth His lovingkindness towards all those which with reverence and fear draw near unto Him.

3. These things thus set down, in the last place we are taught how we should draw near to God, which the apostle expresseth in these words: "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purge your hearts, you double-minded."(1) Men draw near to God by outward profession, though it be not always in sincerity of heart. Thus did the people of Israel in outward profession, and with their mouths, draw near to God, which as a token of hypocrisy is condemned (Isaiah 24:13; Isaiah 58:2, 3).(2) Men also draw near to God by faith in Jesus Christ, whereby they have entrance unto Him (Romans 5:1).(3) Men draw near to God also by prayer, whereby we ascend, as it were, to heaven, and approach near to the presence of God.(4) Neither do men draw near to God by prayer only, but also by repentance, which is a returning again to God, whom, through the sins and iniquities of our lives, we have left and forsaken.(5) Men are said, moreover, to draw near to God when they seek to His holy ark, when they run to His Word to ask counsel.(6) By reposing all trust and confidence in God, and clinging constantly unto Him, whereof Psalm 73:28.(7) Of none of all these the apostle here seemeth to speak properly, but of another drawing near, which is by purity and sincereness of life, whereof chiefly in this place he speaketh, which be commendeth unto us in these words, "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purge your hearts, you double-minded," which I take not for a new precept, but with and others as the manner of performing that which is now enjoined.Let us then consider the place —

1. In calling them sinners he meaneth not them which are subject by natural infirmity to the committing of sin, as all men are so long as they rest and remain upon the face of the earth, but hereby he noteth their heinous and horrible iniquities.

2. By wavering or double-minded he noteth the shameful hypocrisy which was crept in, even into their lives, which made some show of religion, And had a pretence of godliness, but in their hearts were full of ungodliness.

3. The words bearing this signification, the matter followeth, that men in purity and sincerity of their lives draw near unto God, which consisteth in two things.

(1)In cleaning of their hands.

(2)In purging of their hearts before God.

(R. Turnbull.)

I. THE MEANING. We are to understand it as conveying a gracious promise of conscious and sensible communion with the Father of our spirits.


1. The sinner must draw nigh unto God by the way of His own appointment, and that way is Christ.

2. In drawing nigh unto God a sinner must have a sense not only of his own unrighteousness, but of his own helplessness.

3. You must draw nigh to God in all His ordinances.

4. With clean hands and a pure heart.


1. The graciousness of the invitation.

2. The greatness of the benefit to be secured.

3. The certainty of the result.

4. The dreadful consequences of continued estrangement.

(Alex. Hislop.)

If you saw two persons working together in the same shop. or the same field, both blessed with the faculty of speech, and delighting to converse with all others, but never conversing with each other, what would be your conclusion? That they loved each other? By no means; but the reverse. If you saw one person using every art to please another, and to draw him into conversation, and the second person avoided his presence, and refused intercourse, what would you think? That the second person loved the first? Surely not. It is our pleasure to be in the society of those we love, and to converse with them. Prayer is speaking to God. Worship is coming into His presence, and waiting upon Him — is listening to His voice.

The mother of Artaxerxes was wont to say, that they who would address themselves unto princes must use silken words: surely he that would approach unto God must consider, and look as well to his words as to his feet. He is so holy and jealous of His worship, that he expects that there should be preparation in our accesses unto Him: preparation of our persons by purity of life (Job 11:13); preparation of our services by choice of matter (John 9:1); preparation of our hearts by finding them out, stirring them up, fixing them, fetching them in, and calling together all that is within us to prevail with God.

(Bp. Reynolds.)

Let your laughter be turned to mourning.
1. It is a good exchange to put away carnal joy for godly sorrow; for then we put away a sin for a duty, brass for gold; yea, we have that in the duty which we expected in the sin, and in a more pure, full, and sweet way. God will give us that in sorrow which the world cannot find in pleasure; serenity, and contentment of mind. When the world repenteth of their joy, you will never repent of your sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). The saddest duties are sweeter than the greatest triumphs, and the worst and most afflicted part of godliness is better than all the joys and comforts of the world. It is better to have your good things to come, than here (Luke 16:21).

2. An excellent way to moderate the excess of joy is to mix it with some weeping. The way to abate one passion is to admit the contrary: in abundance there is danger; therefore in your jollity think of some mournful objects.

(T. Mouton.)

Mourn savourly and soakingly, with a deep and downright sorrow, so as a man would do in the death of his dearest friend. The Greek word, πενθήσατε, imports a funeral grief.

(J. Trapp.)

Turn all the streams into one channel, that may drive the will, that may grind the heart. Meal was offered of old, and not whole corn.

(J. Trapp.)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up.
The heart is naturally at enmity with God. Hence humility is the first of Christian virtues: not that God wishes to see us debased, but that self-abasement is in accordance with the truth of our character, and is the way to exaltation. To use a very rude metaphor, just as a man cannot go up another hill till he has gone down the one on which he happens to be, so a soul cannot be exalted in God until it has thoroughly come down from self. And what is that exaltation which God accomplishes for the soul? It must be the only true and permanent exaltation. Exaltation in Satan's kingdom must be debasement, for it is exaltation in sin, and sin depresses and debases. The exaltation, then, in this case must be an illusion. The true exaltation must be in the truth. It must be in the region where God dwells. It must be in righteousness and holiness. Such an exaltation implies satisfaction and joy. It also implies its own continuance, because of its Divine character. It is man's finality in the kingdom of God as contrasted with his finality in the kingdom of Satan. There is one phrase especially in our text on which we desire to lay stress: "In the sight of the Lord." Our humility is to be wrought in His sight. This implies, in the first place —

1. That the humility is not a humbling of ourselves before our fellow-men. The abjectness and servility of one man to another are not pleasing to God. If we injure our fellow-man, we are to take the attitude of penitence before him. But, this exceptional case aside, no man is to humble himself before his fellow-man.

2. The believer's humility is therefore, in the second place, a true humility. It will not do to present to God the outward prostration for the inward repentance, the words of humility for the self-renunciation of the heart. A true humility is alive, and bears fruit in a new and holy life. A true humility sees the truth regarding itself, that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, and cries out for God. The man abandons self for God. He abhors self, and finds a refuge in Jesus Christ, who is made unto him wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. This is the glorious "lifting up" which always accompanies a true humility. "What!" says an objector, "is that a true humility which is humble in order to be exalted?" Yes, it is. It would not be if the exaltation were to be in the line of the humility; that is, if the man was to be exalted in the very pride from which he humbles himself. But when the man is to be exalted by the Divine grace and the Divine Spirit, that is a true humility which foresees this exaltation, and acts in view of it. It is not a humility of despair, but of faith. It know its own worthlessness, but it knows also the Lord's grace.

3. The believer's humility, being in the sight of the Lord, implies a life in the sight of the Lord. He sees Him who is invisible, and his motives come from that source, so invisible to the world. The Lord's light shines on him, and that light reveals sin in the heart. He is never found justifying himself, or flattering himself with human purity and excellence. His comfort comes from no such proud and false source, but from resting his evil heart on the pardoning and cleansing love of his Redeemer. And in that love he finds a true holiness springing up in his soul.

4. The believer's humility implies a life of prayer. We cannot see God without praying to Him as the source of pardon and holiness, the only guardian and guide of the soul.

(H. Crosby, D. D.)

Humility stands opposed to pride. And as pride consists in our entertaining higher ideas of ourselves than truth will warrant, and in our presuming upon these, both in feeling and in practice, as if they were just and correct, so humility consists in our entertaining accurate notions of what we really are in relation to some one above us, and in preserving that station which a regard to our real merits requires us to occupy, as to the sentiments we cherish and the conduct we maintain, with respect to those under whom we are placed. The humility inculcated in my text is humility in reference, not to another creature more exalted than ourselves, but to God, who is immeasurably exalted above all creatures. And in this simple relation, even though we had done nothing to offend Him, humility is at once graceful and necessary; for, as we owe everything to Him, and as we depend upon Him for everything, it would be presumptuous, undutiful, to have one thought towards Him or to make one movement before Him, which proceeded on the supposition that we were not so indebted and so dependent. But the humility enjoined upon us not only respects our relation to God as His creatures, whose every faculty must be traced to Him — it also respects our relation to Him as His sinful creatures — who are thus removed at a still greater distance from Him than they naturally were, and liable to His high and holy indignation. When we exhort you to be humble, we do not exhort you to think yourselves worse or meaner than you really are. We only exhort you to form a just and precise valuation of what you really are, as compared with what you ought to be, according to the rule which has been Divinely enacted, and to maintain the conduct which such an appreciation is calculated to produce. And this exhortation is highly important in the first place, because, unless we have just notions of what we are as sinners, we can neither perceive the value, nor be prepared for the reception of any scheme that may be devised for our deliverance; and in the second place, because, among the principles of our fallen nature, pride is that which has perhaps the greatest ascendancy over our minds, and prevents us from giving heed to those considerations which go to determine what we really are, and by doing so, to fix us at our proper level. The great and vital fact with respect to you is, that you are stained with sin. There may be an endless variety in the mode and in the measure of sinning with which different individuals are chargeable. Do not suppose that you have any refuge in the paucity of your misdeeds. It is the nature of sin itself, and not its multiplicity merely, which subjects you to degradation. It is its power in the soul, and not its actual and manifold exhibition in the outward conduct, by which you are debased. But which of you can venture to say that your transgressions are few in number? Consider the extent — the strictness — the spirituality of that law to which you are subject. That is the measure of your sinfulness; and if your humility should be in proportion to your sinfulness, what limit can be set to it? Humility, however, is so mortifying to the human mind, that before it can obtain a settlement there, every attempt is made to discover reasons for believing that it is neither necessary nor appropriate. And one of the most common refuges in which the natural pride of man fortifies itself, is the self-righteous plea of what is called innocence and amiableness of character. Granting that you are as harmless as amiable, as deserving of esteem as you are thought to be, still it is all unavailing. The essential excellence of what is done by a moral agent, consists in its recognition of the existence, and in its submission to the will of Him who ruleth over all. And yet God has not been in all your thoughts, and God has not been in all your ways. And the pervading guilt which such a consideration throws into it is incalculably aggravated by your not only resting upon its merits with satisfaction, but actually supposing it sufficient to secure the favour of that very Being whom it has so dishonoured, neglected, and disowned. But we must not neglect to remind you of that affecting display of the evil of sin, and of the degradation of the sinner, as these appear in the sight of the Lord which has been made in the Cross of Christ. Could such a sacrifice as this, think you, have been demanded by "the Father of mercies," the possessor of infinite wisdom, the God of righteousness and justice, if it had not been necessary for the purpose for which it was required — the expiation of human guilt, and the deliverance of those to whom it attached, from the degradation and the ruin into which it had brought them? Had we nothing more to tell you than that you are sinners, it would only fill you with mortification, hopelessness, and anguish. But after having told you all that we can add intelligence as pleasing as that which went before it was painful. We can speak of blessings that are to follow in its train, and that are sufficient to compensate you a thousand-fold for all the distress which may have been inflicted upon your feelings by our delineations of the abject state to which you are reduced as transgressors. We would persuade you to humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, that He may, in consequence, "lift you up." This is the arrangement established by the Author of salvation. The humility that is enjoined is connected with the privilege that is to follow it, in another way than that of either natural or acquired right. The connection is just as necessary, but it is of a different kind. When the sinner is made humble, he is merely undergoing a part of that moral process which must take place, in order that he may be raised from the death of sin to the life of holiness and peace. If you feel and cherish that humbleness of mind which just conceptions of your guilty and depraved and wretched condition are calculated to generate; and if in the midst of this self-reproach you are ready to throw your fortunes unreservedly upon the merits of that dispensation which Divine grace offers to you as your all-sufficient refuge, then there is no insuperable barrier between you and the salvation which you need. The devices of God's wisdom become acceptable to you, the offers of His mercy become welcome to you, the hopes of His favour become precious to you, the whole manifestation of His redeeming love becomes available to you.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

In one of our western cities is a physician who is very skilful in doctoring the human eye. I went one day into his office. On the wall was a large painting of an eye. It seemed to look at me when I went in. I could get into no part of the room without the eye seeing me; and the last thing that I saw as I went out was that eye looking at me. 1 have often thought of that picture, and said to myself, that in some such way God's all-seeing eye follows me all my life through. And it makes me feel humble, and leads me to be careful; humble, because I must be so small, so weak, and so wicked in God's sight; careful, for surely I shall want God to see only that which will please Him as He shall look me through and through.

(J. G. Merrill.)

As a tree, the more deeply it is rooted in the earth, the taller it groweth and mounteth the higher; even so a man, the more humble and lowly that he is, the more and higher doth the Lord exalt him.

Our humiliations work out our most elevated joys. The way that a drop of rain comes to sing in the leaf that rustles in the top of the tree all the summer long, is by going down to the roots first, and from thence ascending to the bough.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Afflict, Afflicted, Aloud, Change, Dejection, Exceeding, Gladness, Gloom, Grief, Heaviness, Joy, Lament, Laughing, Laughter, Miserable, Mourn, Mourning, Shame, Sorrow, Troubled, Wail, Weep, Weeping, Wretched, Yourselves
1. We are to strive against covetousness;
4. intemperance;
5. pride;
11. detraction and rash judgment of others;
13. and not to be boastful of our future plans.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
James 4:9

     5900   laughter
     5952   sorrow

James 4:7-10

     6733   repentance, nature of
     8466   reformation

James 4:8-10

     2425   gospel, requirements

December 29 Evening
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.--JAMES 4:8. Enoch walked with God.--Can two walk together, except they be agreed?--It is good for me to draw near to God. The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you: but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. When they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

December 26. "The Spirit that Dwelleth in us Lusteth to Envy" (James iv. 5).
"The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy" (James iv. 5). This beautiful passage has been unhappily translated in our Revised Version: "The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy." It ought to be, "The Spirit that dwelleth in us loveth us to jealousy." It is the figure of a love that suffers because of its intense regard for the loved object. The Holy Ghost is so anxious to accomplish in us and for us the highest will of God, and to receive from us the truest love for Christ, our Divine
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

December 19. "God Giveth Grace unto the Humble" (James iv. 6).
"God giveth grace unto the humble" (James iv. 6). One of the marks of highest worth is deep lowliness. The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

April 4. "Resist the Devil and He Will Flee" (James iv. 7).
"Resist the devil and he will flee" (James iv. 7). Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This is a promise, and God will keep it to us. If we resist the adversary, He will compel him to flee, and will give us the victory. We can, at all times, fearlessly stand up in defiance, in resistance to the enemy, and claim the protection of our heavenly King just as a citizen would claim the protection of the government against an outrage or injustice on the part of violent men. At the same time we
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Approbation of Goodness is not the Love of It.
ROMANS ii. 21--23.--"Thou therefore which, teachest another, teachest Thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? thou that makest thy boast of the law, through, breaking the law dishonorest thou God?" The apostle Paul is a very keen and cogent reasoner. Like a powerful logician who is confident that he has the truth upon his side,
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man

God's Will About the Future
EDITOR'S NOTE: This Sermon was published the week of Spurgeon's death. The great preacher died in Mentone, France, January 31, 1892. This and the next few Sermons in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit were printed with a black mourning band circling the margins. A footnote appeared from the original editors, commenting on the providential selection of this message for that particular week: * It is remarkable that the sermon selected for this week should be so peculiarly suitable for the present trying
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Lack of Prayer
"Ye have not, because ye ask not."--JAS. iv. 2. "And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor."--ISA. lix. 16. "There is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee."--ISA. lxiv. 7. At our last Wellington Convention for the Deepening of the Spiritual Life, in April, the forenoon meetings were devoted to prayer and intercession. Great blessing was found, both in listening to what the Word teaches of their need and power, and in joining
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Addresses on Holiness,
IN EXETER HALL. FIRST ADDRESS. I think it must be self-evident to everyone present that it is the most important question that can possibly occupy the mind of man--how much like God we can be--how near to God we can come on earth preparatory to our being perfectly like Him, and living, as it were, in His very heart for ever and ever in Heaven. Anyone who has any measure of the Spirit of God, must perceive that this is the most important question on which we can concentrate our thoughts; and the
Catherine Booth—Godliness

But Though Prayer is Properly Confined to Vows and Supplications...
But though prayer is properly confined to vows and supplications, yet so strong is the affinity between petition and thanksgiving, that both may be conveniently comprehended under one name. For the forms which Paul enumerates (1 Tim. 2:1) fall under the first member of this division. By prayer and supplication we pour out our desires before God, asking as well those things which tend to promote his glory and display his name, as the benefits which contribute to our advantage. By thanksgiving we duly
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

"What is Your Life?"
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."--JAS. iv. 14. AN OLD YEAR SERMON TO-MORROW, the first day of a new year, is a day of wishes. To-day, the last day of an old year, is a day of questions. Tomorrow is a time of anticipation; to-day a time of reflection. To-morrow our thoughts will go away out to the coming opportunities, and the larger vistas which the future is opening up to even
Henry Drummond—The Ideal Life

The Right to My Own Time
"Come now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.... For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that."--James 4:13-15 "Mrs. Ning and I are going out to see Grandma Woo, who has been sick. Wouldn't you like to come too?" I was sitting at my desk, with all the paraphernalia of Chinese study spread out before me. I looked at my desk, looked at the
Mabel Williamson—Have We No Rights?

Next Let not Man, Now that He Knoweth that by the Grace of God...
44. Next let not man, now that he knoweth that by the grace of God he is what he is, fall into another snare of pride, so as by lifting up himself for the very grace of God to despise the rest. By which fault that other Pharisee both gave thanks unto God for the goods which he had, and yet vaunted himself above the Publican confessing his sins. What therefore should a virgin do, what should she think, that she vaunt not herself above those, men or women, who have not this so great gift? For she ought
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Whether Strife is a Daughter of Anger?
Objection 1: It would seem that strife is not a daughter of anger. For it is written (James 4:1): "Whence are wars and contentions? Are they not . . . from your concupiscences, which war in your members?" But anger is not in the concupiscible faculty. Therefore strife is a daughter, not of anger, but of concupiscence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Prov. 28:25): "He that boasteth and puffeth up himself, stirreth up quarrels." Now strife is apparently the same as quarrel. Therefore it seems
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Quarreling is Opposed to the virtue of Friendship or Affability?
Objection 1: It seems that quarreling is not opposed to the virtue of friendship or affability. For quarreling seems to pertain to discord, just as contention does. But discord is opposed to charity, as stated above ([3236]Q[37], A[1]). Therefore quarreling is also. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Prov. 26:21): "An angry man stirreth up strife." Now anger is opposed to meekness. Therefore strife or quarreling is also. Objection 3: Further, it is written (James 4:1): "From whence are wars and
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Backbiting is a Graver Sin than Tale-Bearing?
Objection 1: It would seem that backbiting is a graver sin than tale-bearing. For sins of word consist in speaking evil. Now a backbiter speaks of his neighbor things that are evil simply, for such things lead to the loss or depreciation of his good name: whereas a tale-bearer is only intent on saying what is apparently evil, because to wit they are unpleasant to the hearer. Therefore backbiting is a graver sin than tale-bearing. Objection 2: Further, he that deprives. a man of his good name, deprives
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Every Sin Includes an Action?
Objection 1: It would seem that every sin includes an action. For as merit is compared with virtue, even so is sin compared with vice. Now there can be no merit without an action. Neither, therefore, can there be sin without action. Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. iii, 18) [*Cf. De Vera Relig. xiv.]: So "true is it that every sin is voluntary, that, unless it be voluntary, it is no sin at all." Now nothing can be voluntary, save through an act of the will. Therefore every sin implies
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Reason Can be Overcome by a Passion, against Its Knowledge?
Objection 1: It would seem that the reason cannot be overcome by a passion, against its knowledge. For the stronger is not overcome by the weaker. Now knowledge, on account of its certitude, is the strongest thing in us. Therefore it cannot be overcome by a passion, which is weak and soon passes away. Objection 2: Further, the will is not directed save to the good or the apparent good. Now when a passion draws the will to that which is really good, it does not influence the reason against its knowledge;
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Gift of Knowledge is Practical Knowledge?
Objection 1: It would seem that the knowledge, which is numbered among the gifts, is practical knowledge. For Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 14) that "knowledge is concerned with the actions in which we make use of external things." But the knowledge which is concerned about actions is practical. Therefore the gift of knowledge is practical. Objection 2: Further, Gregory says (Moral. i, 32): "Knowledge is nought if it hath not its use for piety . . . and piety is very useless if it lacks the discernment
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Omission is a Special Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that omission is not a special sin. For every sin is either original or actual. Now omission is not original sin, for it is not contracted through origin nor is it actual sin, for it may be altogether without act, as stated above ([2975]FS, Q[71], A[5]) when we were treating of sins in general. Therefore omission is not a special sin. Objection 2: Further, every sin is voluntary. Now omission sometimes is not voluntary but necessary, as when a woman is violated after taking
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether a Movement of Faith is Required for the Justification of the Ungodly?
Objection 1: It would seem that no movement of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly. For as a man is justified by faith, so also by other things, viz. by fear, of which it is written (Ecclus. 1:27): "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin, for he that is without fear cannot be justified"; and again by charity, according to Lk. 7:47: "Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much"; and again by humility, according to James 4:6: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Humility is the Greatest of the virtues?
Objection 1: It would seem that humility is the greatest of the virtues. For Chrysostom, expounding the story of the Pharisee and the publican (Lk. 18), says [*Eclog. hom. vii de Humil. Animi.] that "if humility is such a fleet runner even when hampered by sin that it overtakes the justice that is the companion of pride, whither will it not reach if you couple it with justice? It will stand among the angels by the judgment seat of God." Hence it is clear that humility is set above justice. Now justice
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Pride is the Most Grievous of Sins?
Objection 1: It would seem that pride is not the most grievous of sins. For the more difficult a sin is to avoid, the less grievous it would seem to be. Now pride is most difficult to avoid; for Augustine says in his Rule (Ep. ccxi), "Other sins find their vent in the accomplishment of evil deeds, whereas pride lies in wait for good deeds to destroy them." Therefore pride is not the most grievous of sins. Objection 2: Further, "The greater evil is opposed to the greater good," as the Philosopher
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether it was Fitting that the Mother of God Should Go to the Temple to be Purified?
Objection 1: It would seem that it was unfitting for the Mother of God to go to the Temple to be purified. For purification presupposes uncleanness. But there was no uncleanness in the Blessed Virgin, as stated above (QQ[27],28). Therefore she should not have gone to the Temple to be purified. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Lev. 12:2-4): "If a woman, having received seed, shall bear a man-child, she shall be unclean seven days"; and consequently she is forbidden "to enter into the sanctuary
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Christ Should have Been Baptized in the Jordan?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ should not have been baptized in the Jordan. For the reality should correspond to the figure. But baptism was prefigured in the crossing of the Red Sea, where the Egyptians were drowned, just as our sins are blotted out in baptism. Therefore it seems that Christ should rather have been baptized in the sea than in the river Jordan. Objection 2: Further, "Jordan" is interpreted a "going down." But by baptism a man goes up rather than down: wherefore it is written
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

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