July 15th, 2021
In Chapter 4 of the book of James, the author describes the struggles between believers within the Christian community he was addressing. He made it very plain that these struggles did not come from God, but “from the evil desires at war within you” (James 4:1). He told them, “You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them” (v. 2).
Instead of asking God for what they wanted, they fought each other for it. Even when they did ask, James said, “you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (v. 3). Although they were Christians, they were not acting like Christians. They were acting like people of the world. In effect, they were spiritual adulterers. Although they were married to Jesus, they acted as if they were still married to the world.
James identified the primary motivating factor behind these struggles as pride. Instead of submitting to God and the ways of God, they were struggling with one another in the pride of the flesh, in the pride of the sinful spiritual state. James made it very clear that God would not stand idly by while all this was going on. He quoted Proverbs 3:34 to show them that “God opposes the proud” (v. 6). God actively opposes all those whose actions undermine proper order in the church.
The struggles of the church in James’ day still happen today. The actions of the proud still undermine proper order in the church and God is still opposing them. The solution to the problem, from James’ point of view, is to “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (verse 7). Instead of struggling with other members of the church for whatever it is we want, we should humble ourselves before God and seek His will and His ways in our dealings with them.
We should repent with tears for the things we have done and renew our loyalty and trust in God. Although God opposes the proud and brings them down, He gives grace to the humble and lifts them up.
In due time He will lift up the humble in honor.
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