November 3, 2009

James 4

Week 4 of 5 in our study through James. Post your thoughts, questions or comments below.

James 4

Vs 1-6 "Friendship w/the World": notice that the conflicts are a result of what is inside us, the desires that lead us away and into sin against God and one another (1:14-15). Paul talks about this struggle in Romans 7:14-20. James goes on to talk about "wrong motives" and I can't help but wonder if this is something we should be challenged by when it comes to our prayer life. There is a strong statement made about friendship with the world and how it leads to becoming an enemy of God and the jealousy with which God desires to know us and us to know Him. What types of worldly things have you and I allowed to compromise our friendship with God?

Vs 2: in the Greek "conflict" = make war

Vs 3: in the Greek "wrongly" = badly, wickedly

Vs 7-10: one of my favorite passages of Scripture. We see another pattern here that James is presenting which leads to God lifting us up...submission > resisting the devil > drawing near to God > repentance > live with humility > God not only lifts but sustains. I LOVE the idea that you and I can actually resist the devil to the point of making him actually wanting to flee from us. This, of course, is not done on our own power but through the power of the Holy Spirit, helping us not only resist the devil but to draw near to God. The other idea I LOVE is that God would actually be willing to draw near to us. The thought that the pure and holy God would even want anything to do with me let alone come close to me is mind-blowing! We've got to ask ourselves what we are doing to draw near to God, it takes action. "Drawing near" is not a passive thing, it is a deliberate act. How deliberate are your acts of drawing near to God?

Vs 11-12: we are reminded again of the power and importance of our words. Again, how much hurt could be avoided if we would simply be "slow to speak" and "quick to listen".

Vs 13-16: we deceive ourselves if we ever think that our time is actually our own. As if somehow we could ever do anything to bring about or get back any moment. C.S. Lewis writes in his book The Screwtape Letters, "Man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift".

Vs 17: might be one of my favorite verses. Simple. Clear. Real.