|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-10 Since all wars and fightings come from the corruptions of our own hearts, it is right to mortify those lusts that war in the members. Wordly and fleshly lusts are distempers, which will not allow content or satisfaction. Sinful desires and affections stop prayer, and the working of our desires toward God. And let us beware that we do not abuse or misuse the mercies received, by the disposition of the heart when prayers are granted When men ask of God prosperity, they often ask with wrong aims and intentions. If we thus seek the things of this world, it is just in God to deny them. Unbelieving and cold desires beg denials; and we may be sure that when prayers are rather the language of lusts than of graces, they will return empty. Here is a decided warning to avoid all criminal friendships with this world. Worldly-mindedness is enmity to God. An enemy may be reconciled, but enmity never can be reconciled. A man may have a large portion in things of this life, and yet be kept in the love of God; but he who sets his heart upon the world, who will conform to it rather than lose its friendship, is an enemy to God. So that any one who resolves at all events to be upon friendly terms with the world, must be the enemy of God. Did then the Jews, or the loose professors of Christianity, think the Scripture spake in vain against this worldly-mindedness? or does the Holy Spirit who dwells in all Christians, or the new nature which he creates, produce such fruit? Natural corruption shows itself by envying. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up, or lay out for ourselves, according to our own fancies; God the Holy Spirit teaches us to be willing to do good to all about us, as we are able. The grace of God will correct and cure the spirit by nature in us; and where he gives grace, he gives another spirit than that of the world. The proud resist God: in their understanding they resist the truths of God; in their will they resist the laws of God; in their passions they resist the providence of God; therefore, no wonder that God resists the proud. How wretched the state of those who make God their enemy! God will give more grace to the humble, because they see their need of it, pray for it are thankful for it, and such shall have it. Submit to God, ver. 7. Submit your understanding to the truth of God; submit your wills to the will of his precept, the will of his providence. Submit yourselves to God, for he is ready to do you good. If we yield to temptations, the devil will continually follow us; but if we put on the whole armour of God, and stand out against him, he will leave us. Let sinners then submit to God, and seek his grace and favour; resisting the devil. All sin must be wept over; here, in godly sorrow, or, hereafter, in eternal misery. And the Lord will not refuse to comfort one who really mourns for sin, or to exalt one who humbles himself before him.
Verse 9. - St. James's version of "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Be afflicted. Ταλαιπωρήσατε: only here in the New Testament, occasionally in the LXX. Heaviness. Κατήφεια: another ἄπαξ λεγόμενον, apparently never found in the LXX. or in the apostolic Fathers; it is, however, used by Josephus and Philo. It is equivalent to "dejection," and "exactly describes the attitude of the publican, who would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, Luke 18:13 (Plumptre)."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep,.... Not in a bare external way; not by afflicting the body with fastings and scourgings, by renting of garments, and clothing with sackcloth, and putting ashes on the head, and other such outward methods of humiliation; but afflicting the soul is meant, an inward mourning and weeping over the plague of the heart, the impurity of nature, and the various sins of life; after a godly sort, and because contrary to a God of infinite love and grace; in an evangelical way, looking to Jesus, and being affected with the pardoning grace and love of God in Christ.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness; meaning their carnal joy, on account of their friendship with the world, and their enjoyment of the things of it, since they consumed them on their lusts, and which betrayed enmity to God.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Be afflicted—literally, "Endure misery," that is, mourn over your wretchedness through sin. Repent with deep sorrow instead of your present laughter. A blessed mourning. Contrast Isa 22:12, 13; Lu 6:25. James does not add here, as in Jas 5:1, "howl," where he foretells the doom of the impenitent at the coming destruction of Jerusalem.
heaviness—literally, "falling of the countenance," casting down of the eyes.
James 4:9 Parallel Commentaries
James 4:9 NIV
James 4:9 NLT
James 4:9 ESV
James 4:9 NASB
James 4:9 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible