OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #102, "Jesus is Lord."
We reviewed James 4:1-8, spending:
· 4 minutes to memorize verses 1-3;
· 3 minutes to memorize verses 4-5;
· 4 minutes to memorize verses 6-8
MEMORY PASSAGE DISCUSSION
· James focuses on one’s own pleasures. This is where we deal with our own sin. We might instinctually reason that it is “the other person’s fault” that there might be conflicts, fighting, and sin amongst us. But in reality, the source of sin is our own pleasures. This is emphasized in verse 3, where James urges us to humbly realize that we sin because of our own selfish pleasures.
· You can’t have intimacy with God and yet also be simultaneously committed to worldly desires. God wants our hearts to be committed and devoted to Him alone. Our love should be solely given to God, not to the world.
· Practically, a sinful love for the world can be manifested in both subtle and non-subtle ways. For example, it can be found in a pursuit of professional accolades or notoriety, in seeking acceptance from the world, or in wrongly assigning excessively high value to possessions or personal life goals. These examples remind us of the parable of the seed (e.g. Luke 8), where Jesus tells us that the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life choke us away from faithfulness and growth in the Lord, resulting in a fruitless life.
· God desires genuine righteousness from our hearts. Isaiah 1:10-20 is a passage that clearly tells us that God wants our hearts, not lip service or empty rituals (Psalm 51:16-17). God desires for us to be committed and faithful to Him.
· God is willing to give us grace, even though we have sinned against Him in these ways. God gives grace to the humble.
· The first sign of humility is submission (“submit therefore to God”). This means to place yourself under the authority God. We can’t stick our noses up to God in pride and also stick our hands out expecting to receive His grace. We must have a posture of surrender and submission to God. “God gives grace to the humble.”
· James brings up the devil in verse 7. It is obvious that the devil is at war with God’s people, trying to bring them down by drawing them away from humble submission to God. The devil is in the habit of focusing on man’s desires and not God’s (e.g. Matthew 16:21-23). We must stand against the devil, resisting his temptations and lures, not giving him any opportunities to lead us astray from drawing near to God.
· In contrast, God does not push us away from Himself. Quite the opposite: God desires us to draw near to Him (verse 8)! James tell us that when we do, He draws near to us.