7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. ~ James 4:7-10, NKJV
Would you like to be closer to God than you are now? You can be.
In today’s Scripture reading James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, outlines four steps to a closer relationship with God. In verses 1-6, he describes the damaging effects of pride and worldliness. But of course we are not left hanging; in verses 7-10 we are given the prescription for the remedy.
Submit to God and resist the devil.
The first step is to submit to God – admit that He is God and we are not. Realize that His way is the best way. When we do this, we make a conscious decision to turn away from pride and worldliness to obey the Lord.
Draw near to God.
After we have turned away from the sinful attitudes pride cultivates in our hearts, we must move in God’s direction. I’ve heard it said that in the Christian life, if we are not growing closer to God, then we are moving further away. There is no standing still, no treading water. Our relationship with God grows and matures as we spend time with Him in prayer and meditation on His Word.
Cleanse your hands, purify your hearts, lament and mourn and weep!
Something that is missing from a lot of worship services is time for meditation and confession. Yes, we are supposed to “keep short accounts” with God all through the week. But there is something powerful about a group of believers, gathered in corporate worship, taking time to admit and lament over their sins as they confess them to the Savior. Pride is evidenced in a room full of people who have walked into worship service feeling worthy to be in God’s presence because they made it to church that day. But when these same people truly examine their hearts, confess their sins with a broken attitude, and ask forgiveness, then the Holy Spirit can work in their midst.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Don’t we all want to be lifted up – to have a light heart, to feel like all the cares of the world have been lifted off our shoulders? When we confess our sins to the Lord and allow Him to humble us, then He can lift us up, higher than we could ever lift ourselves up with anything the world can offer. The joy of the Lord that comes after confession and forgiveness is a happiness that circumstances cannot take away.
Have a blessed Sunday! Worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.