Thursday, May 25, 2023

Hostility or Humility

Thursday, May 25, 2023 Submitted by Kay Crumley

 Hostility or Humility - James 4:1-10 

The book of James was written by James the brother of Jesus who was a leader in the early church and known for his wise advice. The book of James is a collection of instructions given to the Jewish believers who had been scattered around Palestine to escape persecution.   

Chapter 4 addresses the infighting of the congregation in those churches. There was a power struggle among the members for which James identifies the source as “your passions that wage war within you” in verse 1. The cause of the disagreements was internal as some were wanting what others had, greed, and were willing to murder, hate one another, to get what they wanted. He admonishes them that if they would only ask, in prayer, for what they wanted and with the right motives then God would answer and provide those desires. The purpose of prayer is to align our will with the will of God, Matthew 6:10. Without that alignment man’s covetousness or greed becomes idolatry. Praying for something with wrong motives, to spend it on selfish pleasures, is the reason the request isn’t granted. Since the church is the bride of Christ, when we are lusting for things not of God, we are an adulterous people, vs 4.  If we pursue worldly desires, we make ourselves the enemy of God just as a spouse who pursues others outside of the marriage relationship becomes the enemy.  The Holy Spirit who lives in the believer envies intensely, vs 5.  Exodus 34:14 tells us that the Lord is a jealous God. He wants our complete undivided devotion. If we place ourselves in opposition to God through our attachment to the world, He will resist us. He opposes the proud, those controlled by Satan. The solution is to humble ourselves to Him and the benefit is His abundant grace poured out onto us.   

Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8

The solution is that we first submit, be subject to, surrender to, and draw near to God.  That means we recognize our weakness and surrender to Him, our final authority. Secondly, we must resist the devil.  There is only one way to resist him, draw near to God by knowing Him intimately.  We resist Satan by proclaiming the truth of the Word of God to him just as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11.  Thirdly, we must repent of our sin daily as we cleanse our hands and purify our hearts in prayer and commitment.  Admit our sin to Him with broken hearts and rid ourselves of pride acknowledging Him as our source and strength.  We see the reward, in verse 10, that those who humble themselves before Him, He will exalt.   

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