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James  ◦   Chapter 4

1Why is there so much hostility, fighting and arguments among you? Because the survival-of-the-fittest instinct controls you:2if you want something but don't get it, you are willing to kill. You are selfish, coveting what you cannot have, constantly fighting, trying to get for yourselves. You do not obtain, because you do not seek God.3And when you finally do ask God — because your motives are selfish, because you focus only on self-gratification — you don't get what you're asking for, because God doesn't use his power to supply you with means to further damage yourselves.

4You disloyal and unfaithful people! Don't you realize that embracing the me-first, survival-of-the-fittest principle of this world is warring against God? Anyone who allies themself with this selfish world chooses to be an enemy of our God of love.5Don't you get it? The Scripture is clear: God longs intensely for you and gives his Spirit to live in you6to graciously heal you. That is why the Scripture says: "God opposes selfishness, arrogance and pride, but heals the selfless."

7Surrender yourselves to God and his treatment. Tell the devil No, and you will escape him.8Move close to God, and God will come close to you. You selfish people! Stop choosing to indulge your desires. Stop going back and forth between love and selfishness, and purify your hearts with love.9Stop playing around and get real! Let your hearts break: Cry over your terminal condition, admit that you are sick, and stop pretending that all is well.10Then go humbly to the Lord, and he will heal and restore you.

11Brothers and sisters, don't disparage each other. When you demean one another, you distort God's law of love and make God's methods appear questionable. When you misrepresent God's law of love, you are no longer living in harmony with it but acting as if you have a better design for life than God.12There is only one Designer of life and one Diagnostician who is able to heal our terminal condition. So who do you think you are to diagnose your neighbor as "beyond healing"?

13Pay close attention — especially those who say, "In the next few days, we are moving to a new city and will live there a year, open a business and make huge profits."14You don't know what the future holds. Your life is like a vapor trail: here one minute and gone the next. You might not even be alive in a year, so stop being so rigid with your preplanning–it only increases your stress.15Instead, trust God with your future and how things turn out. Learn to say, "If it is in harmony with God's plan for my life, then that is what I will do," and you will worry so much less.16As it is, you focus on yourselves: you brag, boast, and try to control everything in order to advance your own agenda. All selfishness is destructive.17Anyone who knows God's methods of love but chooses selfishness deviates from God's design for life.