This is the second part of a prior post, uberChristianity and Humility. We take up what James is saying to us, beginning in chapter 4:
James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
When St. Paul reminds us that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), it is not by our own efforts that we remain "new" but our reliance on the Lord to strengthen us through Word and Sacrament. Our passions, lusts, as St. James would have us read, are not holy as we seek to control others by beating them into submission. Most of the above trouble is an inward focus, a selfish desire to keep or maintain what one desires and covets. When James calls them adulterers, he uses the feminine plural, "adulteresses", to call them out as not of the Holy Church--also feminine--but a rival, covetous, murderous, etc., that seeks their own god--Paul would say their stomach is their god. Think Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who sought to destroy true faith in the ancient believers of God.
When we pray, we are to think outside of us, not just give God a grocery list of our lusts. We are to think of the whole Church and all those within her. We are not to seek a life devoted to a wealth that is without God; a life devoted to accumulation and selfish ambition has no room for God. This life seeks comfort and conformity to the world, even in so-called godly ways. Truly seeking God in humble repentance and calling Him to deliver you from selfish gain and control--placing yourself in submission and humility--is seeking God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, a life of repentance and faith. Trusting God will bring forgiveness and healing to you, through Jesus' wounds.
Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Your holy wounds I find,
Ev'ry hour that I am feeling
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treach'rous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me from its first beginning. LSB 421, stanza 1.