This passage is a treasure trove of Biblical Theology and Practical Application!
Jesus Christ calls HIS body into a singular, undivided relationship, the only way we enter is with humility. In this relationship He places His Spirit into us so that we can overcome ourselves and live a life of ‘Singular Humility!
But too often we allow our fleshly self-serving desires set our schedules and shape our priorities. When we live like this we have less peace, more drama. Our prayer life, our dependence on God, becomes a mere formality, lip-service and we flirt with the danger of betraying our #1 Love!
God’s Word is crystal clear on how Yahweh requires our singular devotion, our undivided loyalty. He places His Spirit in us so that we may willfully submit to His ways, not strive for our control. NO, The Holy Spirit distributes grace that is enough to meet the challenge of any evil when we are undivided and truly humble.
How do we live this way? The prescription is simple but not easy…
Practice humility before God. Stand up to Satan; he’s a cowardly bully. Engage God to experience Him. Repent like David did, take ownership of your sin and beg forgiveness. The closer you get to God the more your sin will bother you but press into that; it will drive you lower before God and in THAT… HE will lift you up!
James Ch. 4:1-10
1 But about the feuds and struggles that exist among you—where do you suppose they come from? Can’t you see that they arise from conflicting passions within yourselves?
- There will be relational conflict in the Body, it has a source.
- The root cause of conflict is selfishness
- The cause is within each of us (pride or lack of humility leading to sin)
- We start out totally self absorbed, as we mature we care about others more
- (Compliment of Barbie’s Aunt Linda)
2 You crave for something and don’t get it, you are jealous and envious of what others have got and you don’t possess it yourselves. Consequently in your exasperated frustration you struggle and fight with one another.
- What activates the sin of selfishness is coveting and comparing.
- The comparison game is ‘Unwinnable’; incredibly frustrating
- Coveting never ends because there is never enough…
3 You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And when you do ask He doesn’t give it to you, for you ask in quite the wrong spirit—you only want to satisfy your own desires.
- The focus on self takes your focus off God
- You don’t ask HIM because you don’t trust HIM (…you did’t get this or that)
- You approach Him with an improper attitude (Sin of SELF causes separation)
- This is repetition of James 1:6-8
4 You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy.
- Commitment to a spouse is a singular kind of loyalty, the same as with GOD!
- You can’t be faithful to God and be captivated, and enamored with this life!
- A LOVER makes the object of their love priority #1
- You can’t make God your #1 priority while you focus on the things of this life
- We all can make the mistake of being seduced by the world and what it offers
- Have you made a mistakes & flirted, not knowing what you were doing?
- Or are you deliberately choosing to be a ‘Lover’ of this life? (how to stop?)
- SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TO THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
5 Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is The Spirit He has caused to live in us? (translation notes- ‘the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy’ or ‘the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, opposes our envy.’)
- The ‘THIS’ is selfishly living, coveting & comparing that leads to drama / conflict
- Living like this is not how a biblical relationship with God works
- Jealousy, drama, scarcity & discontent are not what God produces in HIS Body
- His Body, Christ’s Body lives by the Spirit God has indwelt them with
- God wants us to be Singularly led by HIS spirit, not our spirit of selfish pride
- The result of life surrendered to and dictated by God’s Spirit is:
- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Fidelity and Self-control.
- So the answer to the question is NO! Self-serving jealousy is not of God’ Spirit
6 No, He gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ (Proverbs 3:34)
- God has an answer to our ‘spirit’ of self …GRACE!
- HIS Grace is enough to overcome our selfish desires that gives us no shalom
- HIS grace is enough to overcome any other spirit because we have HIS Spirit!
- How does this ‘Overcoming’ happen?
- We can have the power to overcome ourselves if we are humble enough
- Being humble enough is truly giving your life fully over to the priorities of Christ
- Christ calls the members of HIS Body to ‘Singular Humility’
- Here is what God wants: Humility / Resistance of Evil / Intentional Relationship
- The devil disengages when faced with a saint who is ‘Singularity Humble’
- We can only come closer to God on HIS terms: undivided loyalty & humility
8 Realize that you have sinned and get your hands clean again. Realize that you have been disloyal and get your hearts made true once more.
- Be aware of your selfishness and repent of it
- Take ownership of your sin
- Live with a ‘Spirit of Repentance’ (a very humble state)
9 As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears. Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection.
- Closeness to God makes you recognize & own your rebellion & disobedience
- Sensitivity to our own sin is the result of a biblical relationship with Jesus Christ
- Isaiah 6 is how we will respond to the presence of God’s holiness in our lives
10 You will have to feel very small in the sight of God before he will set you on your feet once more.
- Singular humility before God is not elimination of self… you bear God’s image
- Singular Humility is putting yourself in the proper place relationally to HIM
- God sets us on our feet, establishes us today and for eternity BY HIS GRACE!
Our sinful desires to gratify ourselves lead to comparison, covetousness, drama and conflict. This is not how members of Christ’s Body are to live.
We are being unfaithful to what Christ has called His Body to if we let our desires for the things of this world captivate us and set the priorities of our lives.
Members of Christ Body are aware that you cannot love the things of this world AND God. They are diametrically opposed to each other. God’s Word and God’s Spirit clearly oppose our being self-focused.
God gives the grace we need to overcome sin as we live humbly before Him
Our undivided spiritual poverty opens the door to God’s grace that enables us to: resist evil, become more intimate with God, and to recognize, repent of and be deeply hurt by our own sin. And in that process we experience true forgiveness!
A Biblical response to the Gospel is one of ‘Singular Humility’: an exclusive, intimate relationship with our creator and savior based on loyalty, dependance, trust and love!
What makes you more humble? What makes you singularly devoted to Christ? How can you grow these in your life?
What are the standards you use to know whether or not you are ‘Flirting’ with the love of the things of this world?
Can you identify areas of your life that need some of God’s grace but are instead making you frustrated and discontented? How might you change that situation?
How sensitive are you to YOUR sin? Does your repentance look like what James is telling us it should look like?