Grace flowing to the humble!
Scripture reading for November 20th: James 4:1-17
James was a Jew and ministered as the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Pastoring a flock of Jewish believers had it’s challenges and he dealt with some quarrels among the brothers and sisters. In his epistle, James gave instructions in practical humility that would help his flock avoid the strife and work together. Let’s be quick to listen and then apply his instructions in order to help the church we are a part of!
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3) James speaks plainly to brothers and sisters that he loves. Selfishness is at the heart of most strife in the church! It starts in our flesh with desires and then is worked out in anger, slander (murder with the tongue), jealousy, and even spiritual manipulation! Some of his flock were praying to God, but God could not grant an answer because they had selfish motives. They simply weren’t asking God in accordance with His will!
“But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:6-10)
We all need more grace to overcome our selfish desires and flesh. Grace comes to the humble. A mark of true humility is submission to God and obedience to His word. When we submit, we draw near to Him to listen and learn. Another mark of humility is a sincere desire to be clean of sin. Sincere brokenness is marked by a change of heart and by cleansing our hands from evil works. If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up!