1What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.4You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,“God opposes the proudbut gives grace to the humble.”7So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. -James 4:1-10
Despite my looks, I really am old [smile]. 35+ years ago, I attended Cross Points Church (then Full Faith Church of Love) as a kid in Children’s Church. At that time, the Children’s Pastor was a man named Tom Blasco.
Pastor Tom was perfect for the job of Children’s Pastor. He was high energy, creative, a ton of fun and just the right amount of crazy. At the time, the kids ministry was cutting edge. We were doing ministry like very few churches were at the time. Pastor Tom was a large part of that success.
At the time, I didn’t understand cutting edge, but I knew fun and excitement. I still remember specific puppets (Tyrone, Mr. T (temptation), Heart and more), characters and even lessons.
One of the lessons burned into my head is from this passage –
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
I must have repeated that phrase a thousand times by the time I left 6th grade. We would say it over and over and over. We would tell the puppets, we would tell the characters, we would tell each other, we would say it for prizes. We knew “resist the devil.”
I don’t remember “humble yourselves”. I’m sure Pastor Tom taught it. I don’t remember it.
Whether you were in Pastor Tom’s children’s church or not, I hope you know it. Humility is the key to this passage. It’s the key to living with Jesus.
Be humble means…
- Resist pride.
- Wash yourself.
- Mourn sin.
- Purify your heart.
This week we’re focusing on the command of Jesus to repent. Repentance only comes through humility. We have to accept we are sinners, broken without Christ’s redemption.
This week, I encourage you to dig into this command. Don’t discount it as something you already know, or pass it off for someone else.
James is writing to believers – those who know the truth, yet for some reason have forgotten. This truth is for you and me.
If you search your heart, you’ll be left with two options –
- Humbly bend your knee to Jesus and repent.
- Become a friend of the world.
There is no other option.
“So humble yourselves before God.”