James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
The closer we get the more aware we are of our sin and shortcomings.
James tells the readers to go near. They are living without a real focus on holiness. They are living for themselves first and foremost.
When they go near, they will become aware.
James says the result is to purify, grieve mourn and wail. Laughter will turn to mourning. Joy will turn to gloom.
This isn’t a forever state. It’s temporary. But it’s the first reaction of coming near, when you’ve been far.