Worldliness and Godliness

Passage for Today

James 4:1-12

4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?


  1. What does it look like to be in the world but not of the world?
  2. What do you learn about God from this passage?
  3. How can you grow in godliness?


By Lifeway

Our lives suffers from no shortage of worldly wisdom. If you’ve ever been into a bookstore, you’ve seen the massive space dedicated to self-help or self-improvement. You may have even seen books classified as Christian self-help. But here’s the reality. You can’t help yourself. You’re broken. Apart from Christ, you’re spiritually dead. You can’t improve on death and brokenness. This is a bigger deal than not living up to your potential or settling for good instead of great. This is a matter of life or death.

Worldliness and godliness are both the root and the fruit of the wisdom we live by. False wisdom is rooted in and reproduces more worldliness. True wisdom is rooted in and reproduces more godliness.

Our passions and desires are at war within us, and we must fight against them. Pride, boasting, and divisiveness mark worldly people, while humility, obedience, and repentance mark godly people.

When we get into an argument with someone, our tendency is often to blame
the person we’re arguing with before examining our own hearts.

The way we view the world causes us to grow in one of two ways:

1. Gladness and gratitude

2. Entitlement and contempt

When we learn to spot God’s goodness in our lives, it leads to an ever-increasing sense of gladness and gratitude. As joy and satisfaction begin to grow in our lives, we learn to appreciate God’s work regardless of our circumstances. In contrast, if we feel that God owes us something, instead of growing in gladness and gratitude, we’ll grow in contempt. The only thing we deserve from God is death and eternal punishment, but by His grace, He has given us life.

*  This devotion was found at titled “James: Faith/Works” by Lifeway.

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