Today’s Scrip-Bit   10 August 2022   James 4:7.

James 4:7.      Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I don’t understand it nuh friends…and you’re wondering just what I don’t understand eh. (smile) Well, it’s how come today can already be the tenth of August when the month just began sometime last week. And you know what happens when August is done? September rolls in with its colder temps and we on the down track to that wonderful season called winter. (smile) It’s interesting to note how the supposedly good seasons finish much quicker than those we consider less amenable. But that’s just the way of Mother Nature, and if you want to live in the Northern Climes then you will have to learn to put up with the eccentricities of the weather. 

And though you may be born and raised in the changing seasons, it’s still difficult for many people to adjust to it. I guess that’s because mankind was not really made to live in the cold, but because of our wandering hearts and minds we’ve ended up in some of the most inhospitable climates in the universe. Now, that wandering spirit that’s never contented or satisfied, also leads us to suffer other unnecessary pain and sorrow as we seem to revel in the sinful and ungodly things of Satan which only bring us death and damnation. 

Oh my wayward friends, although we know better, somehow or the other we just can’t refuse the lure, the clarion call of the enemy’s deceitful and empty promises. Meanwhile, we’re turning a blind eye to all the marvellous, magnificent and true promises that Jesus is offering, free, gratis, and for nothing! Promises of hope, faith, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with our Creator, salvation and eternal life in heaven, where there are no tears, no pain, no sorrow and above all no death! 

Our brains must be badly muddled and addled if we consciously choose the disastrous and painful life that comes to those who follow the evil Beelzebub; things like hell, death, damnation and eventual interment in lake of fire, instead of the wonderful halls of heaven. No wonder James, the brother of Jesus wrote this tough passage on worldliness and pride to his fellow believers. 

He sagely begins by asking: ‘From whence come wars (conflicts) and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts (desires for pleasure) that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill (murder), and desire to have (covet), and cannot obtain: ye fight and war (battle), 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 (pleasures).’ (James 4:1-3) 

Wow! What wisdom, what insight into our ungodly behaviour! And re those verses, the scholars tell us: ‘Chapter 3 ended by stressing the peace that results from heavenly wisdom. Now James emphasizes the strife common among his readers, stemming from their unsatisfied, selfish desires. Instead of wrestling with God in prayer, these believers are striving with one another.’ 

And would you believe that nothing much has changed in our society since then, except that we’ve gotten even more lustful, sinful and more interested in pleasures than the righteousness of God, with the avowed intention to kick God out. But just for the record, that’s NEVER going to happen, because God is still in control of His universe and will always be. He’s just giving us enough rope so we can hang our own selves and not blame Him when our paper houses with such beautiful facades come tumbling down. Hn! 

And I like how James doesn’t let up on the unfaithful believers. He continues taking them to task: ‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses (those unfaithful to God), know ye not that the friendship of (with) the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be (wants to make) a friend of the world is (makes himself) the enemy of God.’ (James 4:4) Yes my brethren, we cannot be a LOVER of the world and a LOVER of God at the same time. 

Jesus said it loud and clear: ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and LOVE the other; or else he will hold to (be loyal to) the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (worldly riches).’ (Matt. 6:24) But friends, unfortunately, when it comes to whom we are serving, many of us have a spiritual double vision. (smile) However, try as we might, ‘total loyalty to God cannot be divided between Him and one’s material possessions.’ And the having of material possessions is not wrong in itself, but it’s ‘our improper attitude of enslavement toward wealth’ that causes the problem. 

And James continues to lay into his readers. ‘Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy (yearns jealously)? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.’ (James 5-6) Ah mih people, our natural spirits do yearn after jealousy and covetousness, but God gives us much more grace that we can overcome the attractions of the world. And there, when James talks about God giving more grace to the humble, he is quoting Cousin Sol in Proverbs 3:34. 

Now don’t think that James is done with his fellow believers or us. Not by a long shot! He’s now getting into the parts that we so badly need, as he strongly advises: ‘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 my fellow saints, I don’t think we can get a better prescription than that for what currently ails us nuh! First off, we must submit ourselves to God, who’s response is always positive and welcoming towards us. Then He will give us the grace and strength to resist Satan. Not to fear or flee from him, but to stand strong against him. And per the cleansing of our hands and hearts, that means our lives need to be cleansed ‘both by outward deeds and inner thoughts.’ 

And on that subject, the scholars give us this marvellous reference to Psalm 24. ‘Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity (an idol), nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.’ (Ps. 24:3-5) 

Yes friends, when we come before the Lord with true confession and repentance, He will gladly lift us up. So, for those of us who are sincerely trying to live for Him in these perilous and ungodly times, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our most wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

Altogether now: ‘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!’ 

Now, let’s not forget that if we endure to the very end, that future with Jesus is going to be even more glorious than we can even ask or imagine! Wow! So, let’s use that as encouragement to keep on keeping on to the very end nuh! Much LOVE!

…it’s possibly easier to serve Satan than God…but the benefits of God far outweigh those of Satan… 

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