You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (ESV)
In our society we are used to getting what we want. It is amazing to me how people who complain about having no money somehow have money for the latest smart phone, a new car, and a daily pack of cigarettes. One way or the other we find a way to fulfill our selfish desires. We not only seek to satisfy our needs, but also our "greeds."
I fear that this is no new phenomenon. James writes about those whose desires were so intense that they led people to commit murder in order to have their "greeds" met. Clearly, in this scenario the desires are leading the man, not the other way around. Coveting leads to frustration, which leads to fighting and quarreling, and ultimately murder. These are the characteristics of someone who has not been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God.
Here is the sad reality. That which truly satisfies the heart of every man is free for the asking. James rightly says, "You do not have, because you do not ask." Salvation is the ultimate answer to fulfilling our deepest desires. You cannot have it by any works that you do. You cannot steal it from someone else. You must come humbly to God and simply ask.
So many people live their lives in useless futility. They chase after one vain pleasure after another. There are not enough drinks of alcohol that can satisfy. There are not enough sexual conquests that will provide ultimate peace and satisfaction. A life of accolades and accomplishments won't even bring what the heart of man truly desires.
The answer is to stop chasing and fighting for what won't satisfy. We need to simply ask. If you do not have, it is because you do not ask. Have you asked the Lord for forgiveness and eternal life? They are offered to you in Christ Jesus. Ask him.