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Read Introduction to James


“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”


You lust

Almost all evils in life come from our system of coveting. The verb for “lust” means to turn upon a thing, to covet, to fix desire upon, to long for. In the present tense, it means to keep on coveting after something. Lust here has to do with seeking place and special honor.

This word for “lust” is a different word than the word in verse one. The word in this verse comes from two words: upon and desire, passion. The idea here is inward impulse manifesting itself in such things as approbation lust, power, lust, and lascivious lust. This person sets his soul on these things.

Mt 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Ga 5:16, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

2 Ti 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

and do not have.

The verb for “do not have” means to light upon, obtain, hit upon any person or thing, to hit the mark. We do not gain an answer to prayer because covetousness distorts our spiritual life.

He 6:15, “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

Ro 11:7, “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”


Lust does not give us what we desire.   


A craving for something does not complete the thing. Lust does not bring us the desired end we seek. The method does not produce the end result. We can set our hearts on something, but it does not necessarily bring us our desire. If we make financial success our goal, we will find no ultimate fulfillment in that.

Ac 20:33, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.”