Archive for December, 2013

James 4:7-10: Humbled

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Book of James, Devotions

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. Cry out in sorrow, mourn, and weep! Let your laughter become mourning and your joy become sadness. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. — James 4:7-10 (CEB)

Sometimes in life, you reach that point and place where you know you’ve made a mistake.  Maybe you went a little too far in something that you said to someone else.  Maybe your actions hurt another person.

It presents a moment of choice.  Do you keep on keeping on?  Do you act as if nothing has happened?  Or, do you go to that person?  Do you humble yourself?  Do you ask for forgiveness?

We can also experience that same thing in the most significant relationship we have in our lives.  The writer of “James” is pushing us to see that in our relationship with God.  Throughout the book, we’ve been reminded of how we can say and do things that do not reflect God’s presence in our life.  We can show favoritism.  We can tear others down.  We can hurt others with the things we do and say.

But we can do something about it.  We can submit ourselves to God.  We can confess our sin.  We can humble ourselves before the God who loves us.  And when we do, we get the chance to experience the God who stands beside us in all that we go through and experience.

There’s power in “humbling” ourselves before God.  Humbling means that we realize our place, our position before God.  We realize that we worship and serve God and that we don’t and can’t compete with God.  When we humble ourselves before God, we remember who were created to be.

Singer Jason Gray has a song called, “Remind Me Who I Am.”  The lyrics for that song say, “When my heart is like a stone, And I’m running far from home, Remind me who I am. When I can’t receive Your love, Afraid I’ll never be enough, Remind me who I am.”

So, in the words of James, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Help us to come to you, God, to submit ourselves, to surrender all that we are, to confess and seek forgiveness.  Help us to see when we have fallen from the path.  And, God, in the process remind us of who we are in your loves, mercy and grace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.” — (James 4:4-6, The Message)

Over the past few weeks, a post was making its way around social media outlets.  It was a list of things that would change in your life once you became a parent.  I totally identified with some of the things that you would find on this list. But one of them made me laugh.  Parents have to sneak to eat candy.

That’s right, eat some candy and come within a few feet of a child and they are going to figure it out.  Children have a sixth sense that’s simply related to candy.

So the way you combat that is to eat candy when the kids aren’t around.  It makes you feel like you’re cheating on your child to get a Tootsie Roll.

James follows up a set of verses in which he painted us as spoiled children trying to get our own way with this tough statement.  “You’re cheating on God.”  Now, I would imagine that most people don’t get up in the morning with the intention in their mind that today is the day I’m going to cheat on God.

It just happens.  It’s a series of bad choices, a few moments of talking about someone else.  It’s looking at what someone else has and getting jealous.  It’s a string of little fibs that lead to bigger and bigger lies.   It’s trying to think that I can do this, that I have it covered, that I don’t need God’s help in getting this done.

And we end up, maybe even unintentionally, in turning our back on the true source of love and life.

James’ advice for us?  Stay humble.  Stay connected to the God who gives love and grace and mercy.  Stay grounded in the God who forgives.  Don’t get so proud in yourself and your own abilities.  Stay true to God.

Almighty God, forgive me for the times I slip and think that I can do this on my own.  Forgive me for the times I turn my back on you, even unintentionally. Forgive me for the times I’ve cheated on you, God, by trying to find what I need in a world that can’t supply it.  Help me to stay connected to your love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.