You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Full submission to God requires our full renunciation of the world. As with our marriage vows, there is no partial fidelity. God’s jealousy is righteous because it is so demanding. A spouse who does not demand faithfulness does not truly love her partner. So what is so enticing about the world? The world gratifies the longings of the sinful nature: success, power, acclaim, security, wealth, lust, even love. James accuses his audience of adultery, but we must expand the meaning of the word to any gratification that we seek outside of our relationship with God: even gratifications that seem to be righteous. How many Christians have been poisoned by the glorification of hate? Yesterday we talked about how strange it would be if I told my wife how much I hated some other woman more often than I told her that I love her. Our submission to God means that our attention is on Him, not seeking out an object of righteous anger or building an altar of hate on a particular political movement. The priority of our hearts must be submission to God.