James 4:10-17

James 4:10 (KJV)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Humility not envy and strife brings forth exaltation. Humility is the path to distinction in Christianity. When a person is sincerely humbled before the Lord, then they are very teachable, which means that God will use them in the work of the Lord. Greatness in Christianity is gained by humility and not by radio or TV. Anyone with money can go on the TV or radio, but it is the humble teachable person, who will do the most good for the Kingdom of God. James was telling his readers that they need to humble themselves and then the problems would wane. Most problems in any church can probably be traced back to someone with an attitude problem that mushroomed. (Ezek 21:26 KJV) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
James 4:11 (KJV)
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.
Evil - Against
(1 Pet 2:1 KJV) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, Peter must have faced the problems in the people he wrote to. Here James returns to the matter of the tongue but here he includes a far more serious consequence than just speech. The Law forbids anyone from tale bearing about another. (Lev 19:16 KJV) Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. If one does tell false lies and rumors about a brother, they are breaking the law and doing it as an authority of the law by putting it aside. The Judge sets aside the law which leads to the next verse. Evil men are always challenging the law of God and then they pick and choose what law they will obey and what law they will disobey. This is setting one up as a judge of the law. In a court of law, attorneys can argue points of law in front of a judge and the judge may rule on a matter by disallowing one law and including another law which seems pertinent to the case. If a person commits adultery, they are setting aside the law of adultery. If a person does not love their neighbor, they are setting aside the royal law of Christ.
James 4:12 (KJV)
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
God is the only one who has authority over His law. No mere human has the right to judge God’s law and to set aside what does not fit their lifestyle. We are responsible to the whole law. On Judgment Day, there will not be one law that is going to be set aside by God. All will be brought into court and all without prejudice. As God is not a respecter of persons in salvation, He is not a respecter of persons in judgment. We as humans are not to pass judgment on others by using some eclectic method because we can always find fault with someone else. We are unable to save and we are unable to destroy. That destruction is speaking of casting someone into Hell on Judgment Day.
James 4:13 (KJV)
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:
Here is the arrogance and pride of man in his belief that he controls his own destiny. When God is left out of plans, it is a formula for destruction. There is nothing wrong with planning but the problem is they planned without God in those plans. I believe we have all done it by saying, “next week I am going here or there.” When we leave God out of our plans, it is like saying that He doesn’t exist. We tend to forget that God guides us in every way. (Prov 16:9 KJV) A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
James 4:14 (KJV)
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.
James challenges these believers to regard the brevity of life and so plan accordingly. We do not even know what our life is going to be ten minutes from now, never mind planning a whole year. A human being can die at any time and that is why plans for eternity are much more important than plans for earth. Our lives are compared to a vapour. A vapour appears for a moment and then it is gone. (Psa 102:11 KJV) My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. (Psa 103:15-16 KJV) As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. {16} For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. (Psa 39:5 KJV) Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Of course one could hardly forget about the rich man who saw he had so much and instead of sharing his crop, planned to build bigger barns and then store up for himself all his goods for years to come, but what was God’s response to him? (Luke 12:20 KJV) 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? This is why it is so important that we keep our focus on the Lord and eternity instead of this transitory life on earth.
The fourth stanza of this great hymn of the faith says it all.
My Faith Looks Up To Thee written in 1830 by Ray Palmer and music by Lowell
When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!
James 4:15 (KJV)
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Christians must always realize that the plans we make are subject to the will of God and He has the right to change any plans we make. Paul was well aware of that. (Acts 18:21 KJV) But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. We need to recognize our total dependence on God and our plans can only come to fruition if God’s will is in concert with our plans.
James 4:16 (KJV)
But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Rejoice - Boasting
Boasting - Arrogance
Like the Pharisees these merchants boasted about their human ability and neglected God who could remove them from the scene in a heartbeat. Remember the Rich man and Lazarus? These Christians that James was writing to seemed to have a great self-confidence in that nothing could thwart their plans. Instead of seeking total dependence on God, they were boasting in arrogance that they would do what they planned. Christians can have evil attitudes when it comes to living with an independent mindset.
James 4:17 (KJV)
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
These merchants knew what it was to do good in refuting their arrogance and walking humbly with God. (Micah 6:8 KJV) He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? With the Holy Spirit living in the Christian, we do know when we are doing good and when we are doing wrong. Whenever we know the right thing to do but we neglect to do it, it is sin. This is willful sin since we do know the right thing to do and are refusing to do it. James is making sure his readers know of what he speaks of. The word “therefore” is used to bring to a culmination all of the previous teachings he gave. Anyone who disobeys what is written by James is guilty of committing sin, which is spiritual fornication.