The Jealous Spirit.
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (Jas 4:5) NKJV
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”? (Jas 4:5) ESV
It is worth noting that this verse is punctuated differently in different versions. Both the NKJV and ESV are easy to understand but slightly different. I will give some thoughts on both.
Both versions correctly bring in a contrast with what James has just said. James might even be expecting some resistance to his comment that if you wish to be a friend of the world you make yourself an enemy of God. How many times have we heard people justify being friends with the world in the name of ‘being a good Christian’ or ‘it’s a loving thing to do’?
The scriptures do teach that we need to associate with the people of the world since the only way to not associate with them would be to leave the world. However, it makes equally clear that being in a relationship with a non believer that is unequal is to be avoided. (1 cor 5:9-10 and 2 cor 6:14) In this way we can influence them but we are not to allow them to influence us.
The Scripture is not empty in its pronouncements of rewards or punishment, right or wrong, good or evil. We cannot be friends with the world, accepting worldly philosophies as being ok because we want to ‘get along’. Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself with the foods of the king. It may have meant punishment or death to him but he was not going to compromise what God had told him to do just ‘to get along’ or ‘when in Babylon, do as the Babylonians’. (Daniel 1)
Daniel and all Faithful understand and recall that God said: “for I the LORD your God am a jealous God” (Ex 20:5). This statement was made in the context of ‘you shall have no other god before me’. Isa 48:11 says “My glory I will not give to another.” There should be no doubt in the mind of any believer where God stands on the point.
In the NKJV, the understanding would be something like this: The Spirit which God gave us desires our faith and love. When we don’t give it, the Spirit is grieved. Spouses understand this principle. Even the most ‘non-jealous’ spouse has boundaries and when it seems they are either being crossed, about to be crossed, or have been crossed there is a spirit of jealousy. If you give your spouse even a hint that there is another person trying for your affections, watch out!
In the ESV, the understanding is more of God watching the Spirit he gave us. “oh you want to be friends with the world do you? Well, I am going to take my Spirit back” God is careful with whom he associates and even though the Spirit is an earnest of our inheritance, He can be returned.
As James said in chapter three: A fountain of water does not give both sweet and bitter water, it cannot be fresh one day, salty the next, and then back to fresh again. This is inconsistency that does not happen in nature, and it is should not happen in the people of God because it does not happen in God.
If you think that the Scriptures are incorrect and that God will turn a blind eye to your flirtations with the world then go ahead, be friends with it. Accept their philosophies and their ways of doing things. It isn’t the way God does things however and it is not how He wants His children to follow him.