Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 June 2020 James 4:8a.

James 4:8a.    ​Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you. 

Well it’s a wet, still and gloomy Wednesday morning… and it ought to be after the majestic thunderstorm we experienced around ten thirty last night. Yeh friends, all the heavy hitters were out: Thor had the heavens rumbling ominously with thunder, while the lightning flashes lit up the dark night sky like daylight, and the rain poured down in heavenly filled buckets! It was a wonderful spectacle, as it always is when the heavens put on a real show. It’s something that man is not even able to come close to approximating, much less beating. 

That just shows where the ultimate power lies – in heaven, not on earth. (smile) And that’s why it is ever so important to be in close contact with, have strong communication with the powers of heaven, like this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin advocates. And it is most appropriately titled ‘Intimate Closeness.’ Please pray with me: ‘You promise, dear God That when I draw close to You You will draw close to me. Lord, I give myself to You unreservedly. Teach me more and more Of intimate closeness And fill my heart with You alone. To walk arm-in-arm with You Down every winding path Seems to me The dearest of all delights.’ 

And so indeed it is my dear friends and saints in Christ! There’s no better companion in any walk or path of life than Almighty God Himself! For He is the First and Last; the Alpha and Omega, the Creator and Ruler of All that exists! So who better can we ever choose to walk with eh? That’s why James, when he talks about worldliness and pride, lambastes us thus: ‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of (with) the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will (wants to) be a friend of the world is the enemy (makes himself an enemy) of God.’ (James 4:4) 

And the scholars explain that verse: ‘4:4. As Israel was a spiritual adulteress, unfaithful to God, so the church is a spiritual adulteress when she is the unfaithful bride of Christ (cf. Hos. 2:5, 19-20; Matt. 12:39). One cannot be both a LOVER of God and a LOVER of the world.’ That’s putting it very plainly my brethren, though some unwise or foolish ones of us try to live with one foot in the world and the other in the kingdom of Christ, but it’s a physical impossibility, we can’t straddle both places at once! Yes, some of us like to play both sides against the middle, and that might work in the world, but definitely not in Christ’s kingdom. 

And as James wisely continues: ‘Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth (yearns jealously) to envy?’ (James 4:5) Oh yes it certainly does! Just look around at our envious, jealous and greedy world nuh! Then James abandons the negative aspect of his exhortation, gets positive, and tells us of God’s good work, quoting Cousin Sol’s words in Prov. 3:34. ‘But he giveth more grace; Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.’ (James 4:6) 

Now that’s the gospel truth friends, for God despises the proud, since they tend to have no time for or need of Him. But the humble… He greets them with open arms and ever so generously pours out grace, His underserved and unmerited favour, in and on their lives. Wow! Then James gets to the meat of his subject and strongly and wisely advises us to: 

‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. Be afflicted (lament), and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness (gloom). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’ (James 4:7-10) 

Oh friends, if there’s one thing this generation needs more than anything else it’s humility! Our pride has reached such incendiary levels that it’s burning us up and we don’t even realize it. Our level of technology and evolution has made everybody a genius… Hn! We don’t need anybody else; me, myself and I, are the most popular pronouns today! No wonder there’s such little togetherness and so much division, even in Christ’s church. And the only way our world will heal, that includes the church, is by turning to God, not away from Him. Becoming humble in His sight, not trying to run Him out of town! 

Why? As the scholars explain. ‘But he giveth more grace is literally “greater grace” (Gr. meizona). God gives grace that is greater than the world attraction of verse 4 and the inner lust of verse 5 ( Rom. 5:20), and so can withstand both.’ Yes mih people, the only way to withstand the devil and his lustful and prideful temptations is by seeking the greater grace of God. 

Listen to how the scholars explain it nuh. ‘4:7-10. Therefore: The exhortations that follow logically result from the conditions in verses 1-6. Resist the devil: Do not submit to fear, or flee from Satan, but stand against him (1 Pet. 5:8-10). Satan cannot lead into sin against one’s will. Draw nigh: God will not be unmoved; His welcoming response is always near (cf. Deut. 4:7; Lam. 3:57; Luke 15:20). Hands and hearts: The cleansing of one’s life must involve both outward deeds and inner thoughts (cf. Ps. 24:3-4).’ 

So it must my brethren, especially in these dangerous and turbulent times. It will also be of great benefit to us to read those scriptures mentioned above. (smile) So, for those of us who are trying to keep humble and seek God’s grace, let’s go home now declaring (oh yes!) our Wednesday Wail, telling of our wonderful situation in Christ Jesus! In strong voice, with sincere hearts: 

‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And we know that if we endure steadfastly to the end, that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…but where sin abounded…grace did much more abound… (Rom. 5:20b)

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