OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time by singing "At the Name of Jesus" (Hymn #140).
· James 4:1-3
o "Waging war in your members." This is not referring to internal conflict within an individual, but rather interpersonal conflict between individual members. The source of the conflicts between members is one's own pleasures that we tightly hold onto. We ought to let go of our own personal desires and preferences, and rather cling onto Christ. Oftentimes, the quarrels we go through are symptomatic of some other deeper self-centered heart issue that may not have been previously surfaced or identified.
o "We don't have because we don't ask." When we come to God in prayer, our own selfish pleasures are exposed. When we realize that sometimes we pray to God for things that stem from selfish motives and pleasures, then it is obvious that God won't give those things because God is not interested in fulfilling our pleasures apart from His own will and glory. Perhaps a better way to pray is to pray for the ends and not the means. Pray for the objective to be fulfilled in submission to whatever God's will may be, not according to our own will or expectations of fulfillment. Other times, we may mean well in our prayers, but God may not answer in the way we expected. We shouldn't be disappointed in God, but rather be humble in accepting God's will and outcome.
· James 4:4-8
o "Friendship with the world." James is not introducing a new context of relationships with unbelievers. This is continuing the topic of dealing with your own pleasures. When we hold onto our own pleasures and worldliness, we become hostile enemies of God. We must pursue holiness and not be like the world.
o "He jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell in us." God jealously desires us and who we are on the inside. This deals very directly with religious hypocrisy. God is not interested in a mere outward display of righteousness and religion. God doesn't care about our tithes, our record of faithfulness, or other acts of service if our hearts are rotten and selfish. What God wants is our entire being with a pure heart that loves and worships God in obedience and devotion.
o "Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Oftentimes when we feel distant from God, it is because we have stepped away from Him, not because He's pushed us away. God wants us to draw near to Him. We need to be contrite and also practically submit to God in repentance and obedience. We need to humble ourselves before God and be actively remorseful of our sins.
o "Be miserable and mourn and weep." Sin is a serious offense to God, and we should properly react to it with grieving and mourning. Repentance is both a remorseful attitude and active changing of behavior and action.