(Originally published January 7, 2021)
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 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. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:1-3
Everyone has their own agenda, and when everyone has their own agenda there will be quarrels and fights among them. We see that in our homes, we see it in our communities and we are seeing it play out in our country. James says you do not have because you do not ask and when you do you ask with the wrong motives. What we as Christians have to remember are James next statements.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
We do not want to be friends with the world and the worldly things that are going on around us. We also have to remember that no matter how bad things may appear, God is still on the throne and He is still in control!
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ 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.” James 4:6-8
Where do we fit in with all the mayhem going on at this time. We must remember and live in the grace that comes from God. James says resist the devil. This word for resist means ‘stand against’. We have to stand against the devil in our own every day life. And when we do that he will flee from you. It goes like this, if you have something that is a tug for you, a sin that you wrestle with, and you feel the pull to do that sin, the more you stand against it, the more you resist it, the easier it is to resist it. As you stand against it, you feel stronger and the devil, who is trying to entice you to it, because he knows it is your weakness, will over time stop trying to entice you to it. The best and really the only way to stand against or to resist the devil is to get closer to God. God desires relationship with us, He doesn’t need it, but He desires it, and if we do our part and work toward relationship with Him, He will in turn draw near to us!
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10
We should live our day to day life in humility and grace. As we draw nearer to God and we live in the humility that all we have are blessings from Him and that He gives us the grace to go through every day, it is amazing to see how many blessings can come our way. I am not saying that life will be perfect. We still live in a fallen world, and there are still going to be sickness, and strife that happens all around us. But I truly believe that if we live in the grace He gives and follow His will, that He will lead us to many blessings.
James carries on to say that we should all realize also that this life is short. We don’t know what is coming at us tomorrow.
“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.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
I don’t think James is telling us here not to make plans at all. We have heard it said “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. However, we must submit our plans to the Lord. When you submit your plans to Him and allow Him to lead you, then you are living in the grace that He gives.
Lord, help us to live humbly in the grace that comes only from You. Lord we desire to draw nearer to you and we are grateful that as we draw near that you draw near to us! Show us Your way that we may walk with You!