Yesterday, we talked about how God is jealous over us. He loves us with a perfect love, which is manifested in the grace He gives us…
But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
This verse makes perfect sense because in order for God’s grace to be appropriated to us we need to humble ourselves, repent of our sin, and accept His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Our Christian walk begins in humility, and it should continue that way. It is important that we Christians have an attitude of humility. Two brothers in the New Testament learned this lesson. You can read about it in Mark 10:35-45.
Imagine how the world would be different if we all had servants’ hearts. Imagine how the church would be different if we all had servants’ hearts. Imagine how our families would be different if we all had servants’ hearts.
If we go through life competing with people, we will be frustrated because there will always be others who have more. If we go through life expecting things from people, we will be frustrated because others will let us down. If we go through life trying to serve people, we will be fulfilled because there will be plenty of opportunities for us to help others.
At this point, I encourage you to re-read the first six verses of Chapter 4, and then I will offer some summary notes…
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The cure for conflict, according to this passage, is to draw close to Christ and serve others in His Name.
I can anticipate what some of you may be thinking at this point: This is all fine and good in theory. If we all did this, there would be no conflict. But how do we prevent others from making conflict with us?
If people want to compete with us or be angry with us we can’t stop them, but we can make sure that we don’t add fuel to their fire by fighting back. I am not suggesting that we let everyone take advantage of us; if we don’t set boundaries with people, we are not helping them to grow. What I am saying is that we don’t keep a war going. When others try to pick a fight with us, we don’t fight back. There are two verses I’d like to share with you:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)
President Reagan understood that to make peace, you must negotiate from a position of strength. His first step was to strengthen his own country. His second step was to extend the hand of friendship to his rival.
It takes a very strong person to be a peacemaker at home, at work, or at church. Where does our strength come from as Christians? Not from planes and ships and nuclear bombs, but from our relationship with Jesus.
Over the years I have shown a simple illustration to several couples in premarital counselling: I draw a triangle with the man’s name at the bottom of one side, and the woman's name at the bottom of the other. I put Jesus’ Name at the top of the triangle. I show how the two sides get closer to each other as they approach the top of the triangle. The lesson is that as a husband and wife each gets closer to Jesus, they also get closer to each other.
This same principle applies to the church, and to the other relationships in our lives If we want to be peacemakers, then we need to be friends of Jesus.
Today’s Good News is that the closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to each other.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.