Our text for today is James 4. My message is simple. We must be of one mind and one focus upon God and not look outside of God for our satisfaction. Let's look at James 4:1-8,
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
According to what we see in these particular verses, any division or argument within the church come from us seeking our own lusts and seeking satisfaction from places absent from God. Instead of that response, we need to show our humility by submitting fully to God and allowing Him to bring us closer to Himself.
(Now of course we hear a lot of these verses taken out of context to prove various parts of agendas that people are trying to scripturalize, but I am not going to be discussing that until this Monday.)
That summary is great, but it seems a bit pie in the sky. Perhaps, we should bring this down to more practical understanding. As such, I reserve the right to (without divorcing any of the verses from their context) focus in on a portion of them for communication purposes.
You are not feeling content with yourself and the way you live your life. You read your Bible and you serve in your church from time to time, yet you don't feel as if the Lord is satisfied with the way you are living your life. Your prayers aren't being answered if you are even praying at all.
Feeling as if your best efforts mean absolutely nothing, you lose all hope and think that maybe you should just give up on God, and just live the typical apathetic Christian life. If what you're doing isn't pleasing to God, you mise well stop wasting your time on it and find happiness somewhere else.
Naturally, you're not going to find anything to make you happy. Whether you remain in your casual service to the Lord, or you become apathetic, you will find the same thing - your life doesn't seem to have much value.
Now the all important question - why? Because your friendship with the world, your friendship with that which the Lord has saved you from, namely your own natural sin nature, is causing you enmity with God. That explains then the root of all your problems.
The Bible in this passage would use the term adulterers to describe this particular allegation. The concept of adultery is a simple one. Without being crass, adultery is when a marriage is tainted by divided loyalty manifested in a physical form.
When we became in Christ, we became the Bride of Christ. We had a loyalty to Him for what He had done for us, what He is doing for us, and what He will do for us in the future. Yet when we hold onto our own will and volitions, when we hold onto our own fleshly sin nature, when we hold onto to our friendship with the world, we are dividing our loyalty away from God, and our actions in the physical world begin to taint the marriage of the church and Christ. (Just for the record, it would be impossible for the marriage to be cancelled, so don't worry there.)
The obvious solution then is to become completely loyal to God, which is incredibly easy to put into practice, right?
Yeah, not really, which is why James 4 explains to us this following step-by-step process in verses 6-8,
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
The solution that I want to tell to you today is simply this - exercise true humility. By seeking God's will and God's strength in our lives, rather than trying to do OUR best to serve the Lord, we'll be able to come to truly have the proper loyalty to God.
We must get to the point where my shout of accusation in the title does not describe our attitude toward the Lord. We can do this by resting within His strength, by submitting to Him alone, and by seeking Him completely.