Home > Bible Study, Devotional, James Devotional, Wisdom > James – Monday, March 30

James – Monday, March 30

spiritual-adulteryJAMES 4:4-10

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the Spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 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 does not pull his punches. Here he calls his readers adulterous people, and infers that they have become friends with the world. The evidence of these things was that they were fighting among themselves, and were filled with greed, envy, and selfishness. This friendship with the world put them and anyone else at odds with God Himself. These horrible sins require strong words and sharp rebukes.

The cure for this sickness of soul is a straightforward one. God’s grace is available to every believer—grace that enables us to humble ourselves, to submit to God fully, and to resist the devil.

Instead of cooperating with the devil’s schemes, we stand up against them and fight evil with all of God’s might (Ephesians 6:10-11). As we deal with our outer life (“wash your hands”) and inner life (“purify your hearts”), and as we become mournful over our sins and ways, God Himself will lift us up. He will never despise a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions

1. Can you remember a time in your walk with the Lord when your own heart was revealed to you as in this passage? If so, what did you do about it?

2. Jot down one practical way to do each of the following:

Submit to God

Resist the devil

Come near to God

Wash your hands

Purify your hearts

Grieve, mourn, and wail

Change laughter to mourning and joy to gloom

3. What is the promise Jesus made for those who mourn? How does this promise connect with the above list of actions?

  1. Peggy
    March 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    This is a meaty piece of our study. I’m thankful for it.

    In responding to question one, I absolutely do know of the times, and there were several, times that encompass years, of my self centered greedy flesh wanting to keep center stage in my life. I thought I could walk with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom…this is akin to trying to keep one foot on the people mover at the airport terminal, and the other foot on the marble floor, and walk uprightly and make decent, orderly progress…IMPOSSIBLE! God wants to be first, He loves us more than we can fathom, and He was waiting for me to draw near to Him, to confess, repent, fall at His feet, and yes, by His all sufficient grace, I was lifted up, after I humbled myself in repentance, and not a mili-moment before! The Holy Spirit was going to help me wean myself of the world’s ways through God’s power and Word; and this is possible for the most deeply mired down sinner that ever walked the planet, I know, because that was me. God’s grace and forgiveness flowed in the moment I surrendered my flesh and submitted my helplessness to the One and the only One, that can help, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    The seven points comprising question two all have the same answer for me…the Word of God. The Word clearly shows me how to submit (serving others in humility) and how to resist the devil as Jesus did, by the Word of God and how to come near to God is wondrously revealed in so many places but Hebrew 7:19 bespeaks it best for me:

    “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

    That “better hope” being Jesus Christ.

    Washing my hands, which is the denying of flesh, death to flesh, the things of this world and the purifying of my heart, can only come through the filling of the Holy Spirit’s empowering strength and conviction and wisdom on how to keep in this race…grieving, mourning, wailing over sin, taking it seriously, not lightly, again, the Sword of Truth in the Word keeps us aware of our sin and how to confess, turn from it and be forgiven and to move on and try again and because of the blood and resurrection power, we can triumph over sin.

    Question three asks abut the promise Jesus made in Matthew 5:4…
    “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
    For me that means the mourning over my sin and the consequences thereof…God has comforted me, beyond my most able thinking…His ways are sure. When I am submitting, resisting, drawing nigh, keeping clean and denying the flesh and renewing my mind in the Word, being washed in the Word, confessing and repenting daily (short accounts) and out of love for my God mourning over my sin, I am comforted because Jesus said so, because He DID so by His death and resurrection and continuing intercession on my behalf at the right hand of the Father God.

    When I was about 12 years old, I think it was, I stayed out later than my summer evening curfew time. I was only a few yards away from my parents and home, talking to some friends whom I had been bicycling with, but my parents did not know where I was. I kept justifying my actions while I stayed out later and later, thinking, ‘well, surely, this cannot be wrong, I am so close to home’ but my actions had caused great worry to come to my beloved parents.

    When I came home, my Mom, oh, how this memory moves me, for she is with the Lord now, but, through His wisdom, she handled the situation beautifully…she sat me down on my bed, and very gently took my chin in her hand so that I would look at her eye to eye (my Dad was too upset to deal with me and in this one case let Mom handle it…) and she only said, only had to say, one thing, she said,

    “tonight, you acted as if you do not love us”

    and I was cut to the core…in tears I said, “of course I love you” but I knew she was right, I had acted selfishly and thoughtlessly and I hurt my parents deeply. I never forgot that. That one simple sentence did more than one thousand “you’re grounded” ‘s could have ever done. And I think about that hurt look in my Mom’s face when I sin and I know that God is my perfect Parent and that my actions are not of one who loves when I sin against Him. They are the actions of a sinner who needs daily grace. And in our growing in grace walk with Him, we can actually come to a place of not wanting to sin. He loves me. I do love Him. I hate sin and I want to be cleansed of it and restored to that perfect relationship with my Maker once more and for always. And in eternity, I will be. But for now, during this earth walk, I will stumble, I will confess, He will hear me when I call, and I am forgiven, for now, forever, because of Jesus. What wondrous love is this, oh my soul.

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