Dangers of Worldly Wisdom : James 4:1-4

Good morning church, so good to see all of you again, hope all of you are doing well. Last Sunday we have meditated on a topic: “Wisdom from above” from pastor Jinson,  Today we shall continue our book study from James 4:1-4. 

I would like to entitle my sermon as “Dangers of worldly wisdom”  

I would like to start with a story from the Old Testament bible,  

There was a king named Solomon, God greatly bless him with abundant wisdom,  He ruled his kingdom with the wisdom given by God, as a result, there were peace, prosperity and justice in his kingdom, He wrote famous books that are in the bible, i.e. proverb, ecclesiastic and Song of Solomon. He was the wisest man in human history but during his later age he was controlled by worldly wisdom and by the end of his life he was miserable. His kingdom was divided into two part. He ends up worshipping his wife’s idols.  

Had he stuck with the wisdom given from above his life would have ended well.  But his life ended up in a disastrous way.  

His life shows us that worldly wisdom is dangerous and can destroy our family, our life and reputation and break God’s heart.  

Keeping this story in mind lets turn to our text.  

James 4:1-4.  

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  

2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity  against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 

I would like to give 3 vital points from the above verses. 

1) Worldly wisdom leads to fighting, quarrelling and killing. (1-2)  1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires  that battle within you?  

2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want,  so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

You know church,  

There were fights and quarrels and even killing in James days because of worldly desires that battle within their heart. These worldly desires are from our heart idols. 

Worldly wisdom or worldly idols leads to all kind of life problem, such as fighting, quarrelling and killing. 

I will like to bring a story of King David from Old testament to understand our point better.

David was the second king of Israel,  we know most of Psalm in the bible was written by him, he was a musician, song composer, poet,  Shepherd, He was a giant slayer, God said, He is the man after God’s own heart, King David have weakness too.  

I wanna bring the dark story of David so that we will learn a lesson from him. 

The story is in 2 Samuel 11. “The story of David and Bathsheba” 

The story of David and Bathsheba reminds us of how great men who are called by God are still humans and struggle with sin.  

The events begin with King David choosing to stay home in Jerusalem while he sent the rest of the Israelite army to fight other nations and kings. David is relaxing and walking on the palace roof when he sees a beautiful woman bathing on her roof. David was immediately drawn to her and sent messengers to find out who she was. The messengers returned and told David that her name was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah.  Despite David knowing that she was married, he sent for her and slept with her.  Bathsheba later sends word to David that she was pregnant.  

David was nervous that his sin of adultery would now be found out. The King called for  Uriah to come home so that he could spend a night with his wife, Bathsheba, and cover up the sin that Bathsheba was pregnant with David’s child.  

However, Uriah refused to sleep with his wife while his fellow men were off fighting.  David was filled with anger that his plan did not work.  

When Uriah went back to war, King David sent a note to the army commander with instructions to have Uriah put at the frontline and to withdraw so that he would die.   Bathsheba mourned her husband’s death and was then brought to King David to be his wife.  The prophet Nathan visited King David and told him of the Lord’s disapproval and displeasure with David. Even though David repented of his sin, Nathan told David that the son Bathsheba was expecting would die.  

Let us see David heart idols that bring quarrelling and fighting and even killing.

1) Laziness

When the nation is at risk fighting battle with the enemy, when many people are risking their life, sacrificing life to protect their family, their people and their nation, he was enjoying and relaxing at home.

He was neglecting his duty as a leader of the nation. Example, What would you think if China attacks India and our prime minister simply stay home,  sleeping and relaxing and enjoying life at home.  

Do you think opposition party will leave him, do you think citizen of India will keep silent, not at all right. David was neglecting his duty and responsibility. 

2) He commits adultery by sleeping with Uriah wife

3) Not only committing adultery with Bathsheba he killed her husband Uriah.

The result of David sins bring great chaos in his family and the nation Israel, there was fighting among David household, his son Absolom fight back his father David to take the throne. as a result, Absolom was killed. Bathsheba son died. 

This a sad story from the life of King David.

We know David was driven by worldly wisdom, driven by his heart idols which bring pain and misery in his life. 

In the same way, if we are not driven by wisdom from above we will end up our life in pain and misery because outside God we cant find peace and joy and satisfaction. 

Last Sunday sermon reminds us that we should focus on wisdom from above, wisdom from God. 

We know we have our own heart idols, it can be laziness, lust, comfort, covetousness, pride, good things, money, fame, dream, career, family, job, fashion, sports, social media. If these things are controlling your heart and driving your life, we will end up our life in a miserable way.

The bible clearly says in the first commandment that is, You shall have no other God before me. 

What are your heart idols? What are the things that are pulling you down? 

Church lets identify our heart idols like those of King David. What I really like about David is, He literally cries out  to God for forgiveness, He repents his sins to God. 

Let’s see how David repent his sins in Psalm 51. 

1.Have mercy on me, O God,  

 according to your unfailing love;  

according to your great compassion  

 blot out my transgressions.  

2.Wash away all my iniquity  

 and cleanse me from my sin.  

3. For I know my transgressions,  

 and my sin is always before me.  

4. Against you, you only, have I sinned  

 and done what is evil in your sight;  

10. Create in me a pure heart, O God,  

 and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  

11. Do not cast me from your presence  

 or take your Holy Spirit from me.  

12. Restore to me the joy of your salvation  

 and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  

14. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,  

 you who are God my Savior,  

 and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 


Church let us come before God and surrender all our heart idols before God and receive God’s forgiveness and grace like David. 

So that we will live a life that pleases God, a life that glorifies God.

2) Worldly wisdom approaches God with the wrong motives.

(3) “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 

James find out their root problem that is, they didn’t even ask God for their needs,  Here in this verse, James reveals that when they did ask God for what they wanted,  They were simply trying to manipulate Him.  

Many a time we all approach God with wrong motives, just to satisfy our heart desires.  Many prayers were not really requests, we just make an effort to make God serve our selfish desires.  

Many people approach with wrong motives in prayer. (How)  

Not only wrong motives many people are prayerless and many people don’t know what they are praying in the middle of their prayer,  Some people pray like reciting a poem, some people pray without believing.  

What does it mean to pray with wrong motives? What is a wrong prayer? Scripture tells us,  because of these reasons our prayers are so often not answered,  

Because we ask for things so that we gratify our lust and pleasure.  

We ask for the wrong reasons, with the wrong motives. For instance, we ask for:  Good health and long life so we can be more comfortable in life. 

We ask Money just to serve our desires and not Gods purpose. 

We ask Success so that we can be recognized,

We ask Position so we can be in authority and power.

We ask for blessed family, so we can enjoy their presence.  

At first, glance, asking for these things doesn’t seem to be wrong, but when we ask for these things simply to gratify our own desires then we are asking with the wrong motive.  

What is the right motive for prayer?  

How can we pray and know that God will give the desires of our heart? 

Our heart motive should be, asking for blessings so that we glorify God.  When a person wants something from God, he must want it so that he can glorify God.

1. If we want good health, long blessed life, it must be, so that we can glorify God. 

2. If we want to bear fruit in our lives and in our work, or in our church and in our community, it must be, so that we can glorify God.  

3. If we want the basic necessities of life food, clothing, shelter, or a purpose in life, or meaning in life, and significance, or assurance, and confidence and security or if we want a  position of authority or money, it must be, so that we can glorify God in our lives and with our testimony.  

Paul said, “don’t worry about everything, but pray about everything.” 

If you lack anything, church, pray!

If you have difficulties in your life, pray! 

If you are overwhelmed, pray! If you are confused pray!  

If you are hopeless pray, If you are stuck in between pray!  

If you are happy, pray!

If you are blessed, pray!

Bible says

“Pray without ceasing.”  

How is your prayer life?

Church are you really living a prayerful life? 

James 4:2 says You didn’t receive because you didn’t ask.  

James 4:3 says You didn’t receive because you ask with wrong motives.  


Church God is ready to bless us, He wants all of us to ask,  

But we have to ask with the right motives in order to receive His blessings.  

Romans 8:31 says.  

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also,  along with him, graciously give us all things? 

John 14:14 says.  

“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 

With that lets come to our last point.  

3) Worldly wisdom leads to friendship with the world.
(4) Friendship with the world is dangerous, 

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 

James uses strong language. He calls them adulterous people 

1. Being adulterous means that a person is guilty of spiritual adultery.  The relationship between a believer and Christ is like that of a marriage.  That is why the church is called the bride of Christ.  

Our bond with Christ is so close that when we turn away from Him to the world,  It is like committing spiritual adultery.  

Spiritual adultery means that we turn away from God to the world that we break our commitment to God and turn to other things of this world. 

The picture of spiritual adultery shows us just how meaningful God counts our  relationship with Christ:  

It’s a relationship of love, a bond of love that can be the closest bond in all the world.  If we turn away from Christ to the world, it breaks his heart with the deepest pain. 

We should never forget that our Lord gave His life and died for us.  He has done everything He can to save us and to create a relationship with us.  So, we shouldn’t hurt Him anymore. We must not crucify Christ anymore.  We shouldn’t forsake Him for the world.  

We shouldn’t commit spiritual adultery against Him by turning to the world. 

What comprises spiritual adultery?  

– Spiritual adultery is not obeying the commandment of the Lord – It’s unclean deeds and sinful behaviour.  

– Spiritual adultery is giving oneself to sinful things and vile things, 

– It’s continually slapping God in the face by committing the same sin over and over again because the world says it’s OK. 

– It’s forgetting God and turning one’s back on Him. 

– It’s refusing to return to God and not acknowledging the Lord.  

– It’s forsaking God, disbelieving in Christ, being ashamed of Jesus and His Words.

Church we should never commit spiritual adultery.  

The question asked in verse 4 last part: “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is  hated toward God?” What does this mean? It means the person who is a friend of the world is the enemy of God.  

Everything in this world passes away. This world is physical and material so it has the seed of corruption and seed of sin in it.

Because of this, it stands against God. It’s not eternal nor holy and righteous like God. So, any person who is a friend of this world stands against God. 


1 John 2:15-17.  

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  

16 For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life come not from the Father but from the world.  

17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Church lets obey God’s command and be a true obedient Child of Our Father.  


Church, together we have to meditate on 3 vital points under the topic  

“Danger of worldly wisdom”  

1.Worldly wisdom leads to fighting, quarrelling and killing. (1-2)  

2.Worldly wisdom approach God with wrong motive.(3)  

3.Worldly wisdom leads to friendship with the world. (4)  

Don’t let worldly wisdom and idols of this world drive you, it is dangerous, it is deadly,  believers don’t have time for all these worldly things, we have learnt enough lessons from the life of King David.

Let the wisdom of God drive your life, let the will of God drive your life.  

Let the good news of God drive you,  

so that wherever you go you will be the light and salt of this world.  

Secondly, let us always approach God with right motives, let us keep asking God and receive all the amazing blessings from God and glorify God with all the good things we receive from Him.  

Thirdly, Let us not be a friend of this world but let us be a truly loyal friend of Christ.

Let us Pray.

Author / Preacher

Wungmathing Zimik

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