so humble yourselves before God resist the devil and he will flee from you.
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.
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.
humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up in honour.
we used to sing the first verse in this passage when we used to listen on the regular to cassette tapes featuring jenny flack.
it was followed by the line Gods power is ours if we obey in His name we take the devil away then stomping boots with the warcry left left left right left 🙂
the songs translation said submit not humble but it means the same thing.
we bring ourselves lower so God can lift us higher.
pride often prevents us from seeing the foolishness of the ways in which we are behaving.
some of us gain wisdom in hindsight.
far better that we should walk in humility before we make a mistake than afterwards when we are forced to live in regret.
this is not the end of the story however cos our past doesn’t have to cast an ugly shadow over our present or affect our future inheritance with Christ if we walk in a state of purity .
we must take God’s feelings into consideration before every decision we make.
we come close to God by reading His word spending time with those who love Him and doing what the bible says by praying for people and being bold advocates for His truth.
when james advocates that sinners wash their hands he is speaking metaphorically of our need to be cleaned by the blood of Jesus from the inside out.
although I’m sure james cared about personal hygiene it would have been of far less importance to him than making sure that peoples lives were right in the sight of God.
we should not have divided hearts.
a double minded man or lady is unstable in all of their ways.
as Jesus said a man cannot serve two masters he will love one and despise the other.
when Jesus spoke of not serving both God and mammon He means that we should not become enslaved with material possessions or so obsessed with accumulating more stuff that we will compromise our beliefs to be the girl or boy with the most toys yet we won’t truly ever win the game of life unless we finish the race with Jesus in our hearts.
without Him all is empty and meaningless and grasping for the wind as Solomon once noted.
God told us to be in the world not of the world.
we must walk in morally upright ways everywhere we go.
we cannot allow ourselves to fall into temptation or be imitators of the enemy but we must always be following in the footsteps of Christ our guiding light and saviour of our souls.
we don’t have to cut ourselves off from everyone living in the world but we do have to sever all connections with those habits and( when God dictates) people that drag us down to hell.
like He says bad company corrupts good morals.
we must be peculiar people distinctive in our love for Jesus.
we can display this as much by what we do as by what we don’t do.
for example we don’t laugh at dirty jokes or use our mouths to put people down but rather we use them to encourage and point out the godliness in others as well as by pointing out when they are walking in error while making sure we speak the truth in love and sandwich our statements both with compliments and equalizing language of how we as humans are all engaged in the same struggle but with Christ in our lives we have more than a lucky shot at success- its not a gamble but an absolute certainty!
unless we recognize our need for repentance God is unable to bring us to a place of freedom.
this is called godly sorrow.
ungodly sorrow just leads to depression and the illusion there is no hope.
when we turn our eyes to Christ we will always find a reason for living in every season of our souls.
there are times when we need to laugh and others when we need to cry.
this passage is not saying laughter is a bad thing but rather that we must take seriously our need to give our hearts to Jesus before its too late.
He turns our mourning into dancing and our sorrow into joy.
He gives us garments of praise for our spirits of heaviness.
He replaces ashes with beauty and mourning with the oil of joy.
we cannot expect God to exalt us and lift us up to a position of favour and prosperity unless we walk in a spirit of humility and trust His judgement above our own.
we should never be so foolish as to delude ourselves that we do not require His discipline.
remember how the prodigal son was rewarded with a fattened calf when he recognized how he had caused embarrassment to the name of his father.
when Jesus lives in our hearts that means we are ambassadors and representatives of Christ.
we overcome the world by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.
let it always be said that your life was a bold witness for the spiritual and physical fitness that only God can provide when we trust in His word to deliver us from evil and redeem us from the grave .
though we may dabble in darkness we are never completely beyond His reach and He is always able to return us back into His loving hands if we desire for Him to reignite the fire of HIs Holy Spirit in us and daily crucify our flesh choosing to do what makes us happy because the cravings of our transformed mind reflect His own .