31 March 2011

James: Pride and Humility

James 4: 1-12

God spoke to me a lot in these verses.  My thoughts will be highlighted in color.  The Bible verses will be italicized.

Submit Yourselves to God
 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 

The key words in this verse to me are "they come from your desires that battle within you."  We all think of evil being in the world, but we forget we ALL have wicked hearts.  The Bible says, there is no one righteous, not one!  Let's face it, we are ALL sinners, we ALL want our own way!

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 

What a bold statement it is to say  that we ask with the wrong motives.  Here is another way we even fall short.  In our prayers.  Thank goodness that once we become friends with God we have the power of the Holy Spirit who even intercedes and prays for us even when we don't know what to pray.  Sometimes we don't even have the words to ask God what we want or need because we don't even know.  How blessed are we that we can ask God, OUR FRIEND, for anything!  We can be bold in our prayers to Him.  He is my best friend and so I have freedom to question, cry, ask, and speak the truth about my concerns.  Don't you tell your close friends your deepest fears and secrets?  How more so should we come boldly before our bestest friend, Abba Father.  Sometimes even our prayers have the wrong motives because we do want things our way, and we don't always see what God has in store, BUT we can trust His hand always.

Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
   “God opposes the proud
   but shows favor to the humble.”[c]

In Proverbs it says that God is "fiercely jealous lover".  He has bought us with a price!   When you become one with Christ, when He becomes your best friend, He wants all of you!  We know longer are slaves to sin, we no longer belong to the world.  We now are held to a higher standard.  Our home is not here.  We are only here for a short time.  We aren't supposed to get too comfortable here, lusting after the things that the world offers, bigger televisions, bigger homes, the newest and best car, that's not what this life is about!  We belong to Christ.  We are called to be salt and light.
 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  

The message translation says " Say a loud NO to the D*vil and a quiet YES to God and he'll be there in no time."  We  aren't supposed to be dabbling in sin anymore (not as a lifestyle, but we will still sin because we are human) we are supposed to be purifying our inner lives and getting serious about God.  Many people talk about getting "saved" from hell and becoming a Christian to have the benefits of heaven.  I heard a great question in Bible study this week.  Why would you want to go to heaven if you don't have a relationship here on earth with God?  Heaven is about being with God in His presence forever, knowing Him and loving Him, and here on earth as Christians we have the privilege of getting to know and love him right here on earth.  God calls us to draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to us. What a promise!!!

9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 

 It's so true that God lifts up the humble.  He has a way of making the first last and the last first.  The people we may think are weak or quiet might be giants in the faith to God.  "The Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on tiptoe." D. L. Moody
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 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?

I really needed to hear these last two verses this week.  Recently I have been quick to judge.  I have seen some people dear to me doing things that I feel would really displease God, and my heart began to break.  But instead of going right to prayer for them, I began to harbor hard feelings and even anger towards them for their choices.  But God spoke to me in these last two verses and showed me that I have enough to work on in my own inner life, it is not my place to judge "my neighbor".  If I am upset over their choice I should pray for them and bring it before God.  But God has called me to live at peace with all men.  He has called me to love the unlovely.  And He is the only Lawgiver. The Message Translation said, "Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?"  Whoa!

God's Word is so GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I especially appreciate your study on James. I also appreciate the vulnerbility of your comments. Thanks for the teaching from your heart! xoxoxo C


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