Archive for January 22nd, 2018

James 4

James 4 has the writer teaching us about pride and wanting things.  “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”.  God makes it clear that one of our issues is a failure to ask for things we want and need.  But there is a catch.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions”.  Life is not about us, nor what we can accumulate.  God wants to give us more than we need, but not for ourselves.

He wants us to stand apart from the ways of the world.  “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God”?  We aren’t to fit into the world.  We are to stand apart because “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God”.  We can’t serve God and man.  If we are going to live in a way that pleases God, we have to be willing to be different from the world around us. We have to be willing to stand firm even if it means we are different and don’t just slide into the world we live in.

There are some strong words about how we view ourselves.  “God opposes the proud, but  gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”. God looks for a humble heart.  Another reality that life is not about me.  In fact, we need to realize that the world revolves around Him, not us.  We do that by putting Him where He belongs – on the throne of our life.  “Submit yourselves therefore 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, you sinners, and purify your hearts,  you double-minded”.  God needs to be in control of our life.

We also have to come to the realization that we are not determining the days of our life. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”.  But what we do certainly matters.  Sin is not just doing the things we know are wrong.  Sin also is not doing the things we know are right – “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”.  Sin is sin, and sins of commission are no worse than sins of omission.  God wants us to live in a way that aligns with His will, through what we do, or don’t do!

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