James, Chapter Four

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“Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

Grabbing a bite to eat between deliveries, two men shared in conversation. One asked the other to come to his church the following Sunday.

“My wife and I don’t go in for religion,” Sam said. “Too many rules and too much Bible pounding for us. We believe God is everywhere so why go sit in a pew just to prove you believe in Him?”

“I hear you, man. But our church is not like that,” Frank replied. “We have lots of fun, great music, slide shows and free food twice a month! The pastor only reads from the Bible on Easter and Christmas. He prefers for everyone in the church to know what’s going on in the world rather than be bogged down in the Bible all the time. I mean the Bible is great and it’s good to know some of it but he teaches that we need to blend in with the world and not be offensive, pounding people over the head with Bible talk.”

“Hey, that sounds pretty cool,” Sam said. “Do we have to dress up?”

“Are you kidding? The pastor wears Hawaiian shirts and shorts most of the time. He used to be a professional athlete and he will get down on the stage and do one-arm pushups to make a point. It’s really great!”

It seems that Frank should have spent more time reading the book of James than imitating the world and trying to be cool. Following Jesus will send us down a separate road than the world, not a parallel one.

CONFLICT

  1. . .Cravings cause conflict.

2-3. . .Long for what you don’t have…murder…jealousy…struggle and fight…don’t ask God…when you do ask, you don’t get because your intentions are evil. (1John 3:21-24; 5:14-15)

UNFAITHFUL TO GOD

4-6. . .Adulterers…Friends with the world…enemy of God! ( John 15:18-19; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20) “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

HUMBLE YOURSELVES

7-10. . .Humble yourselves before God…Resist the devil…(Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:6-11) Come close to God…Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts…Divided loyalty between God and the world…Tears for your behavior…sorrow and deep grief…Humble yourselves before the Lord.

JUDGING OTHERS

11-12. . .Don’t speak evil against each other…criticize and judge each other…criticizing and judging God’s law…obey the law, not judge whether it applies to you (2Corinthians 12:20-21; 1 Peter 2:1). God alone is the Judge…Only God has power to save or destroy…how can you judge your neighbor? (Romans 2:1; 14:4).

BEWARE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE

13-17. . .Beware of self-confidence, plans that don’t include God (Proverbs 27:1; Luke 12:18-20). How do you know what tomorrow will bring?…Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone… “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Is what you should say…Otherwise you are boasting…and all such boasting is evil…Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

In our world of personal rights, striving for success and adding more each year to our financial wealth, God is reminding us and putting into perspective our sinful focus on imitating the world and desiring the trinkets and comforts of the world. Instead of gathering together for “fun and fellowship”, we should be on our knees, filled with grief and sorrow that we have allowed ourselves to blend in with the world and its desires. As He says above in verse 10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor!”

Reference Scriptures:

1 John 3:21-24 But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, and get whatever we ask for because we are obeying him and doing the things that please him. And this is what God says we must do: Believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another. Those who do what God says—they are living with God and he with them. We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tells us so.

John 15:18-19 for you get enough hate from the world! But then, it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it; but you don’t—for I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.

Epesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

1 Peter 2:1 So get rid of your feelings of hatred. Don’t just pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty and jealousy and talking about others behind their backs.

Romans 2:1 “Well,” you may be saying, “what terrible people you have been talking about!” But wait a minute! You are just as bad. When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are talking about yourselves, for you do these very same things.

Proverbs 27:1 Don’t brag about your plans for tomorrow—wait and see what happens.

Luke 12:18-20 ‘I know—I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I’ll have room enough. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!”’

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?’

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