Contemporary English Version
Friendship with the World
4 Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? 2 You want something you don’t have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won’t get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. 3 Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.
4 You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”?[a] 6 In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say,
“God opposes everyone
who is proud,
but he is kind to everyone
who is humble.”
7 Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind. 9 Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad. 10 Be humble in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.
Saying Cruel Things about Others
11 My friends, don’t say cruel things about others! If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God’s Law. And if you condemn the Law, you put yourself above the Law and refuse to obey either it 12 or God who gave it. God is our judge, and he can save or destroy us. What right do you have to condemn anyone?
Warning against Bragging
13 You should know better than to say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!” 14 What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears. 15 You should say, “If the Lord lets us live, we will do these things.” 16 Yet you are stupid enough to brag, and it is wrong to be so proud. 17 If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.
- 4.5 God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us: One possible meaning for the difficult Greek text; other translations are possible, such as, “the Spirit that God put in us truly cares.”