Good morning and Happy Monday! I have had such an amazing morning with God. I watched an amazing sermon yesterday, I'll link it here. Lisa spoke about a lot of things that resonated with me. The first one was making sure what we are fearing God and not fearing man. I feel like it can be so easy to get caught up in worrying about others opinions of you, but it was a great reminder that everyone's opinions and everything that you own fades away. At the end of the day, it's about who you are in Christ. I really spent a lot of time in prayer this morning and and journalling my thoughts, prayers and dreams (and Luca slept the whole time - thank you Lord!). I love this passage of scripture and you will see my reflections on it after you read it. Let's get into it!
Drawing Close to God
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You 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. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
4 You adulterers![a] 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. 5 Do 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.[b] 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[c]
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come 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. 9 Let 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. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Warning against Judging Others
11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[d] If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
Wow. Let's look at "you do not have because you do not ask", it's a great reminder that we should ask God for what we are seeking in our lives rather than trying to do everything in our own strength or looking at other people saying "why don't I have that?". We need to remember the power of prayer. The sermon that I linked actually said something that ties into this! Basically she said that we need to pray but we also need to use our feet (i.e. take action!). Remember right at the beginning of this study we looked at faith without works is dead? This is the concept! We need to pray but also follow it with actions. Want a new career? Ask God but also start applying, start researching, put in the work and ask God to help you. Want to find your husband? Pray for him every day but also actively work on YOU to prepare yourself to be the best wife you can be. Of course, the next few verses (4:3) speaks about asking wrongly. Not all prayers are going to be pleasing. Our prayers need to be seeking to honour God and advance his Kingdom, not just gratify our self-centred desires!
4:6 speaks about God's grace which extends for those who are humble before Him. 4:7-8 is important as we learn that the only way to resist the devil is to draw close to God. When we do this, the enemy has no option but to flee.
We see in verses 4:11 gossip brought up again! It's a common theme in James. It is a problem we face in society daily - speaking evil and slander against people. Those who inappropriately judge others break Gods law.
It's a big one this week but I have felt to inspired to share my thoughts! If you get a chance, watch the sermon I linked. It was just incredible. Lisa Bevere is a weapon preacher. Have a beautiful week guys x