James Answers Some Age Old Questions – James 4:1-10

by frazzledmama on June 2, 2015

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Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

So when we left James in chapter 3 we were learning about wisdom, and how the type of wisdom we possess directly effects our actions.  So, it’s no surprise that now James is addressing disputes within the body of Christ.  James asks a very poignant question, “Why are you fighting?” Have you ever said that before?  If you’re a mom to more than one child, you probably have. Isn’t it interesting that James gives us the answer to this age old question?  We don’t have to ask it any more, we know the answer, “from the desires for pleasures that war in your members.”  Clear enough, right?  Ha!  I did a little digging on this one and really what it boils down to  is the pride and the desires of the flesh.  Isn’t it true that when we boil an issue down to the root cause we generally  find that it started because of pride or a selfish desire?  How many relationships have been torn apart because one person is unwilling to admit they made a mistake?  How many petty fights echo the ageless words, “But that’s mine!” or “I am not wrong!”

Our selfishness and pride not only affects our earthy relationships, it also affects our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  James explains to us that our relationship in prayer with the Lord is impacted by our selfishness and pride.  He says that in order to have our prayers answered by the Lord that we need to ask the Father, with the right motivation.  Sometimes, when we ask the Lord for something and our desires aren’t granted, it is because we have asked out of a selfish motive. With an intension to use whatever we do receive to indulge our flesh even more.   In essence, we are asking God to help us cozy up to the world and all it’s pleasures…sometime we even ask Him to indulge our pride!  May it not be!  When we indulge our flesh through pride and the love of worldly things our priorities and desires will start to change.  We cannot be friends with the world without severing our allegiance to God.  It just doesn’t work.   Jesus told us that point blank in Matthew 5:26,

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Then, James brings us back to the natural state of man which causes these issues and  points us to God’s saving grace . Our natural flesh is opposed to God and His holy standards.  Praise Him, His grace is greater and stronger than our natural tendencies!  He is jealous for you dear one!  He desires nothing more than your salvation and to see you bear fruits of good works through His power and for His name’s sake.  The bottom line is this, God resists the proud, but give grace to the humble. Pride pushes us away from God and will only lead us to war, strife, and self gratification.  But by His grace, we can humble ourselves and honor Him with our lives.

How do we do that?  James gives us a very nice summation.  By submitting to God, by standing against the devil and causing him to flee from you.  By pursuing an intimate relationship with God, by spending time with Him in prayer and praise, by reading His word and studying it.  When you do these things, the Lord will draw close to you, and sure you up to continue to stand against the devil.  Verse 8 gives an invitation to those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, to come to Him for cleansing. James uses the symbolic example of the hands, but he is speaking of a spiritual cleansing of the heart. Be repentant, be truly broken over your sin…humble yourself..ask forgiveness…and He will  save you from your sins, forgive you, and lift you up.

Where is your focus dear one?  I know mine is quickly drawn away and daily tempted by the  things of this world.  Things, that in and of themselves aren’t the issue, but they become a problem when my heart and mind is focused on the “things” instead of on the Lord and his will for my life.

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