Repent from Worldly Self-Reliance and Ambition
James 4:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.
Be miserable and mourn and weep; (4:9a)
James tells his readers to be miserable and mourn and weep, when we know that Christians are not to Christians to be miserable, continuously having some sad view of life, bringing about sad expressions. In fact, Paul said Christians are to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:2) If a Christian is evidencing sadness, it should be the result of a repentant heart. (2 Cor. 7:10-11) Some claiming to be Christians are, in fact, friends with the world and have very little recognizable traits that they are Christian, except when they are at Christian meetings. If we are heading in that direction, we should be saddened by our spiritually weak state, which should motivate us to make the needed corrections. When we pray and then act on our prayers, knowing that God has forgiven us, we have a clean conscience and find the joy that we were lacking.
James wants his readers to realize the weightiness of their sins fully, when he writes, let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. The Old Testament often refers to the laughter of the stupid one or the fool, i.e., the stupid one who ridicules the notion of living a righteous life and without a care in the world goes along in a life of idleness and desire of the fallen flesh. (See Pro. 10:23; Eccl. 7:6) Jesus even commented on such a fool, “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” (Lu 6:25b) James and Jesus were rebuking those who believe that they can be friends of the world while saying they are also a servant of God. James wanted them to wake up from their path, this free from care, lighthearted approach to life, and notice it is not the path to salvation. Rather, they need to feel disappointed and mourn over their plight, realizing their need to improve their spirituality. – Matthew 5:3-4.