Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4:7-10 NIV
The context for this passage is important. At least some of the people James was writing to were fighting with each other. At the heart of their conflict was their desire for the things of this world. James did not tell us specifically what those desires were. But, having been in churches for all of my life, it is not too hard to guess what some of it might be. The desire to have things done your way, to be respected by others, and to enjoy material blessings are just some of the things I have seen result in conflict in the body.
Responding to Conflict
James’ solution to the conflict within the church is to submit to God. Take yourself off the throne of your life, turn away from friendship with the world and the allure of Satan, and humble yourself before God. And when you do that, he will lift you up.
James tells us to grieve, mourn, and wail. That sounds so contrary to the joy we should have as believers. But it is the proper attitude for repentance. When I have fallen off the path God has set for me, it should cause me to grieve and mourn, turning back to God in humble repentance. Don’t make light of your sin. Take it seriously. And, when you do, you will experience restoration, find your feet back on the right path, and again experience the joy of your salvation.