"But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" NIV translation
We all fall short of the requirement that God be first in EVERYTHING but the good news is grace. James uses Proverbs 3:34 to remind us that, if we humble ourselves and know that we need grace just as much as anyone else, God will give it to us and forgive us. If we think that we are all of that and forget that we need God's grace, He will oppose us. My friends, I don't think that we want to be in a position where God opposes us.
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." NIV translation
James urges us to make a choice and that is to submit our lives totally to God.
If we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are to let God control our lives and we can have freedom in knowing that we report directly to Him and not to men.
The best way to resist the devil is to turn control over to God.
"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." NIV translation
Verse ten is often quoted because of the promise it contains but, to understand it, you must combine it with the other verses. James is telling us here that we need to see sin as it is (detestable in the sight of God) and be serious about getting the sin out of our lives. First of all we must accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and
start a new life. Then, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit which will guide us and empower us to deal with the sin in our lives. Dealing with the sin is an act of humility because we have to admit that we are sinners and we can't fix it on our own. When we humble ourselves and admit that, then God will lift us up because of Jesus Christ.
"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?" NIV translation
Now, James gets down to the heart of the matter and that is we want to judge others and their actions. We are reminded first of all that, in doing so, we are not only judging the person but we are passing judgment on the law itself. We are also reminded that there is only one rightful judge and that is God. The problem is that we want to climb up on the judgment seat and take Jesus' place but, just as James said before, God is a jealous God and He will not share His place with anyone. We would do well to keep the question: Who do you think you are? in our minds to keep us from trying to be the judge.