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About-Him.Com Devotional 12-17-2011
True Faith and Repentance Produces Humility
Text: James 4:1 ¶ From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Is James talking to Christians here? Well, yes he is. He is writing to Jewish converts who still clung to the law and the synagogue. If we think about it, things aren’t all that different today, eh?
Adam Clarke, a contemporary of John Wesley, had a vast knowledge of Jewish history and practice. In his Commentary on the Bible he gives us a picture of the Messianic Jewish Christians at the time that the book of James was written. He paints them as a quarrelsome bunch to say the least.
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, The Jews in defense of their religious freedom and rights, made many resurrections against the Romans in Judea, causing much misery and bloodshed. Their various factions also fought among themselves in which they plundered and massacred each other. In Egypt, and Syria they also made war against the heathen, killing and being killed in return.
Of course this could be figurative language. Jesus in Matthew 5:21 equated hating our brother to murder. In that sense, rabid tongues in religious disputes have wounded and slain many. If we are guilty, we will have to answer in judgment.
Many of these Jewish converts were scattered throughout the then known world. Perhaps they had heard the Christian message from the men of 16 nations who had witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost (Ac. 2:9-11), and then returned to their native lands. Others fled from Jerusalem and preached the gospel to these distant lands, after the martyrdom of Stephen (Ac. 8:4). It appears that even though these folks to whom James had written had accepted Jesus as their Messiah and believed in His resurrection, they had received an incomplete message. Note, that James did not cast them out but he did sternly rebuke them and reasoned the way of the Lord more perfectly (Acts 17:11,18:26). That should give us some insight in dealing with those today that we consider to be in error.
Text: James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
How many today are treating God like Santa Claus? How many ministries today are preaching a perverted gospel, mainly based on what God can do for us, rather than what we can do for Him?
Text: James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
Adam Clarke also said that , “When the world comes into the church, the church becomes a painted sepulchre, its spiritual vitality being extinct.” God declared in the commandments that He is a jealous God, who took note of our idolatry and exacted retribution to several generations (Ex. 20:5). Perhaps when the way gets hard, we should take an inventory of our idols? Maybe God is trying to tell us something?
John also gave a stern condemnation of mixing with the world, which he described as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. But he also gives us the encouragement that if we do the will of the Father, we will abide forever. We need to remember that this world isn’t forever, it and everything in it is scheduled to burn.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Text: James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
An old song comes to mind:
Just as a stream, seeks a bed that is lowly
So Jesus walks with the pure and the holy
He’ll walk with you, if you meet the condition
Humble thyself to walk with God
Humble thyself and the Lord will walk with thee
Humble thyself and His presence will cheer thee
He will not walk with the proud or the scornful
Humble thyself to walk with God
Text: James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Note that the responsibility is ours. First of all, we are to resist the devil. If we don’t, God won’t and can’t help us. He is a gentleman who will not counteract our will. He will not force Himself upon us. But, if we through conscience effort resist the devil, cleanse our hands, purify our hearts and set a singular focus on Jesus and Him alone, He has promised to draw nigh to us. That’s an absolute promise from an absolute God who cannot lie (Mt. 28:20; Heb. 6:18).
Repentance is simply a change of mind and direction. It is not a one time occurrence, it must be perpetual.
Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
This is the season that many use to focus on the day of our Lord’s birth. However, for believers, we daily commemorate the fact that the great eternal God of heaven, robed Himself in flesh and entered this world as a child. He didn’t stay in the manger, He went to the cross and was buried. He arose on the 3rd day as He had promised. After ascending to heaven, He poured our His Spirit upon all flesh. He has promised to return for us that we might live with Him eternally.
I repeat that we celebrate these truths every waking hour of every day.
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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries
The purpose of About-Him.Com is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ whom we preach as the Almighty God manifest in the flesh.It is our desire that everything presented on these pages increases your faith in our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Last modified: 05-04-2016
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