James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing as we Reject the Worlds Message.

James 4:1-12

 What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. 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. 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. Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”? 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 men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.

“You adulterous people!”

I have always said with disgust, “I could never cheat on the Trucker!”  We all can not imagine how we could betray our spouse.  And yet, every priority I put on self and not on God is me cheating on my first love, my creator.  A lack of gratitude is a unfaithful love offering.

“He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”

God is jealous to fill and fulfill me.  So my lack of attention to His calling is a betrayal of His sacrifice.  His invitation into flourishing and joy.  My attention to the temporary, the looking to fill my empty parts with worldly satisfaction.  This is my lack of commitment to Gods end game of Joy in my life.

But Grace….  Be Humble….

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

The devil is not long-suffering, if I resist he will eventually move on, for he has bigger fish to fry.

“Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection.”

My heart must not only break for the sins of society but I must be broken first for my own transgressions.  No one blind to their own short comings can grow strong in wisdom, love, humility, and grace.  Sometimes we must burn down all that is overtaking our resolve so purification can take place and new life can bloom.  Our faith will only flourish when the weeds are removed. Then we will once again see the sun and be warmed by the light of life.

Again and again in James I see “Don’t speak evil against another…”  My self centric desire is my number 1 war criminal. I want, I long, I sin…… I praise God and yet curse His image…..   What is the cure to self-centred living?  Serving?  Thankfulness?  Giving all I have to the poor?  Still I seem to be able to make it all about me….

The world wants me to celebrate me, wile it creates the unattainable image of beauty, productivity and wealth that will perpetually draw me into discontentment.

Humility, Humility, Humility!  So I must hold fast to understanding that we have sinned and fall short of Glory.

I am equal to all, the wealthy, the poor, the pretty, the disfigured.  The smart, the slow, the clean and sober and the down and out user.

I am equal not above the foolish, the prideful, the vain, the boastful, the criminal, the murder, the thief, the prostitute. We are all of equal value in Gods eyes, an equal recipients in the blessing and the curse of the cross.  I am no better then any man or woman.

I am equal, I am no less important then the men who lead the church, the fit runners, the pretty blonds, the successful workers, the educated, the wealthy, the privileged, the ones who cover their heads and are soft spoken.  I am equal to the business woman and I am equal to the mom of 10.  God will love us all the same, and use who He choses, for His plan and not our glory.

I am not better or worse in Gods eyes then any of His beloved children.

Embrace Humility Every Day in Every Way.  That is how we die to self.  That is how we defeat the message the world is telling us.  There is no Classes, no Clicks, no Pyramid that God dosen’t see as a level playing field.

When I understand that God is the point and I am not, and neither are you.  That is when I can live out the Gospel and find resting in the equality of the cross.

We are meant for another World so our standing here is irreverent in regards to our salvation and your self-image, your conduct and your love offering, should reflect that.

This is the message of James…

 

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