Bible Study of 2008Feb.10: James 4:1-10

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"1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?   2 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. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

This is one of my favorite passages that speaks of such personal promises.  A lot of this passage deals with our pride. There are quarrels because we want things that please us. We even use our prayers to benefit ourselves. Our wants causes us to keep this friendship w/ the world instead of humbling our lives to God- sometimes meaning sacrificing our such worldly wants. This passage challenges us to to focus more on our relationship w/ God, not the world- to draw near to God and submit our lives to Him.

What does this mean- submit? When we call God our Lord, many often times, it becomes a simple statement proclaiming grandeur ideas like God is King over everything, but we forget many times that our lives are included. And with our lives also comes our submission to our King. It’s not so much losing our free will- no. But it does mean to trust in God and His allowing Him to work on our lives- to trust His choices and willingly give Him power to lead us in lives best lived- and this life best lived is truly a life that draws near to Him.

With trust, comes doubt, and sometimes we live and make decisions without the seriousness of consequences. We become prideful in our own decisions instead of humbling ourselves. But when we lesson our pride and become humble, God promises that He will lift us up.

What does that mean, "he will lift us up?" What does that feel like? Wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want to experience such a relationship with your God- the God that promises He will draw near each time we draw near to Him??? Imagine it. Just imagine what that would be like to talk to God and experience that relationship w/ this God who created all good things??? That is the thing to desire…the world seems incomparably dross and dull compared to the glory of God.

So desire Him, not the things of this world. He promises only the best.

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