Submit Yourselves to God Part 1
Within the Book of James are various crescendos. He builds up a teaching to a climax and then sums it up with a powerful conclusion. In chapter 1, he crescendos to say, “Pure and faultless religion is this: to care for the orphan and the widow.” In chapter 2, he crescendos to say, “Faith without works is dead.” In chapter 3, he crescendos to say, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. This should not be.” As we enter into chapter 4 this week, James will crescendo to say, in all these things, “Submit yourselves to God.”
This week, James will outline two kinds of wisdom – one is earthly and comes from the ‘desires that battle within us’, the other is heavenly and comes from God. One is unspiritual and demonic and characterized by envy, jealousy, and selfishness. The other is pure and characterized by humility, submission, mercy, peace-loving, and impartial. James compares ‘followers of Jesus’ who engage in earthly wisdom as ‘adulterous’ and an ‘enemy of God.’ What is James counsel? He reminds us that God is gracious. That God is jealous for us and implores us to ‘Submit ourselves to God.’
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves us jealously. He is wooing us to be completely devoted to his rule in our life. He is asking us to submit to the working of the Holy Spirit in everything we say and do.
The context of James’ words are to a people prone to quarreling and fighting. He says this is so because of the desires that battle within us. Apparently what we say to one another and how we say it to one another matters deeply to God. Our interactions with one another give evidence to the Spirit that rules our hearts and minds.
Someone said to me this week, “I’m having a difficult time with James. Hits too close to home.” I resemble that remark. I get it. This week again, James will give us relief. He says, “But he (God) gives more grace.” And next James will open the door to freedom; “Resist the Devil. Come near to God. Wash your hands and purify your hearts. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”
PS: My pastor from Beaver Falls, PA during the first seven years of our marriage will be with us in worship, Lord willing, this coming Sunday. Our time at the Evangelical Free Church of Chippewa, PA was instrumental in pursuing being a pastor. I hope to shorten my message by a bit to give Pastor Lee time to comment on the passage of the day. Looking forward to this.
In Jesus name,
Morgan’s notes from last Sunday’s message…