James – Monday, March 30
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?