James 4:5-10 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Yesterday a young man named Tyler preached during our morning church service. He is a college student who has been called to the ministry. Praise God that He answered that calling. He did an awesome job preaching about the jealousy of God. The text he shared was James 4:1-10, and he did a fantastic job sharing the truth of the Word of God. Our God indeed is a jealous God. We can not be friends of world and God at the same time. We must love God and chase after Him and not the things of this world.
Praise God that He understands that we are mere humans, and He knows we are going to mess up. The scripture tells us that our God is a passionate God, and His Spirit is within us, and we should be faithful to Him. Yet, He recognizes our imperfections and extends grace to His children. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Wow! Isn’t that a wonderful thing? God gives immeasurable grace to His kids, but we must humble ourselves before Him to receive this grace.
How do we humble ourselves? James gives us a little insight in this scripture. First, we must resist the devil, and the devil will flee from us. Bro. Tyler made an excellent point when he shared a reminder that as humans, we too often put God and the Devil on level playing fields. It is good for us to remember that Satan is NOT equal to God. He is a fallen angel. He is not omnipresent or omnipotent. He can not be everywhere at once. He is NOT God. When we place our faith in Christ, and we resist the Devil, that old Devil doesn’t stand a chance.
We must come close to God, and He will come close to us. There are many times when we feel alone. We feel that God has left us or forgotten us. This is never the case. God will never leave or forsake us, but rather we have a habit of leaving Him. We get to busy with things of this world, and we move ourselves away from God. If you aren’t feeling that closeness to God that you once felt, let me assure you that God did not move, you did. “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
But how do we close that gap? Thankfully, James gives us some more insight. We must wash our hands and purify our hearts. Wash those sins away. Christ washed our sins away on the cross many years ago. He can cleanse our bodies and our hearts if only we would allow Him to take full reign of our hearts and minds. We can not divide our loyalty between God and the world. It just won’t work. We must allow Christ to purify our hearts!
James then tells us to shed tears for what we have done. Do you think he is telling us that as Christians we should mope around as sad, miserable beings? On the contrary, James is reminding us that we must feel shame and sorrow for our sins as it is our sins that separate us from our One true love. Sin in our lives separates us from a relationship with Christ, and separation from Him is definitely something to grieve over. When we recognize that sin is in our lives and that we are separated from Christ, we grieve. We cry. We feel great sadness.
Praise God that this isn’t the end of the story. Verse 10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord, He will lift you up in honor.” That literally blows me away! God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. He doesn’t just give us grace. He lifts us up in honor! Wow!
My friends, these are some trying times, and it is easy to get caught up in the things of this world. We must remember that the things of the world are temporal, but God is eternal. I’m so thankful for His grace as I continue to strive for humility. Being humble is not easy, but trusting God is. By His grace, we are saved! Praise God!