James 4:1-10 – “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” NASU
In our spiritual walk, we are either moving upward toward Godliness or downward toward wickedness. This pathway is not a level plane but an incline and to stop is to begin to move backward so there must always be forward progress and that means involvement and action on our part. I am not suggesting in any way that we can or should try to “earn” our salvation but I am suggesting that our faith needs our works added to it for completion of our growth and development spiritually.
James identifies the reason for conflict in the church and that is “carnality” and “self”. He powerfully identifies the root problem in numerous areas and that leads him to identify the reason that we are not getting our prayers answered as is seen in verse three. He further informs us that if we are friends of this world which is hostile to God we are joining in that hostility. He pointedly tells us that Pride is destructive and divisive and a characteristic that God rejects implicitly but to the humble God extends grace. He then makes an impassioned plea that we submit to God and in doing so resist the devil and as a result the closer we get to God the further the devil flees because He knows the Power of God and fears God. He calls on us to purify our hearts, cleanse our hands and stop being double-minded. James clearly declares that if we submit ourselves to God in true humility He will exalt us. So the way to the top or the bottom is found in this short passage. We can continue to allow our own selfish desires to dominate or we can resign as the center of our universe and allow God to occupy that spot. If we allow God top billing in our lives we will ascend to the Holy Hill of the Lord and be exalted. If we continue to be the center of our universe we will descend to the bottom. The choice is truly ours.
So as you go through this day go through it with the realization that ascending or descending is your choice. Choose to ascend by emptying yourself of self and allow God to be Number One in your heart, mind, soul, and spirit.
God bless you abundantly as you go through this day!