By John Bruggers
James covers a lot of ground in this section. He starts with a clear message for believers to understand the insignificance of our lives and how little control we have over it (4:14-15). Why? So we can flip the behavior we’re so prone to: me first then God. We must reject that and adopt a God first perspective “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (4:15)
While James follows this with an admonition of the rich who misuse the power they wield, it is important to note the lead in to Chapter 5. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (4:17) What we find is rebuke for those following the path of willful rebellion against God. The oppressive rich are an obvious example James uses to illustrate his point.
5:7-19 reminds those suffering that God has given them tools for enduring: blessings for those who persevere for Christ, and the power of prayer. Let us then use what talents God has given us for good, and not forget what God promises us during our suffering.