Our readings for today are Proverbs 15:1-15 and James 3:13 – 4:12. I am going to focus on just a few important verses in James, Chapter 4 and verses 7-10. I am hoping to direct our attention to those important verses and to challenge each of us in our desire to “come near to God” (v.8). This is, indeed, a very worthy thing to desire to do.
How might we come near to God? In these verses we see that James gives us five ways to help accomplish this:
First, we need to submit to God (v.7) We are normally good at vocalising our submission to God, but to do it in deed is very difficult for most of us. It involves us yielding to His authority and will (for us and His world) – without any caveats or loopholes for us to squeeze out of. It will mean committing your life to Him and His control – giving up the control of your own life. It will also mean a willingness to follow Him where He might lead.
Secondly, we must resist the devil (v.7). At this point we must be very wise and tuned into the ways and wiles of the evil one. We won’t allow Satan to entice and tempt us away from the perfect will of the Lord Jesus. We must be able to put the evil ones attempts to entice us away, behind us (“get behind me Satan”) and move on to positively following Christ.
Thirdly, we must “wash your hands…and purify your hearts” (v.8). That is, we must actively seek out and lead a pure life. Confession and forgiveness must be a regular part of our Christian Walk – be cleansed from sin and replace our desire to sin with the desire to experience God’s purity.
Fourthly, we must grieve, mourn and wail over our sin (v.9). James, as do other Bible writers, speak a lot about sin – more than our contemporaries would allow us to! People hate the idea of sin and judgment and do not want to hear about it. We as Christian people must not be afraid to express our heartfelt sorrow for our lives and actions that have strayed from God.
Fifthly, we are encouraged to humble ourselves before the Lord (v.10). If we do that the promise is that He “will lift us up”. Humbling ourselves means understanding that our worth comes from God Himself. He reaches out in love and gives us worth and dignity, despite our human shortcomings.
Praise God for His goodness to us.
Have a great day,