James 4 New International Version (NIV)

Submit Yourselves to God

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

This one is heavy. Typically humans alike will cause problems with others that are really their own. It is the sins within us that can motivate our actions to directly impact others. The next time you are in the middle of a quarrel, check in with yourself and ask the Spirit to highlight the nature behind the fight. You may be the target of someone else’s stuff or you may be the one targeting.

When we get caught up in our own desires and these thoughts separate us from the Lord, we are very vulnerable to temptation and destruction. Pray that the Spirit is actively in you, guiding your steps and decisions. Pray for God’s holy angels to protect you from Satan and his emissaries’ snare. Because when we sin and do not ask for forgiveness or repentance we purposely remove ourselves from God’s grace- which leaves us exposed.

You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]?But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”[c]

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

This is a fact. I know because I have challenged this in my own life. I believed I could withstand the temptations of the world and still be in the world. What a heavy price to pay for such pridefulness. God gives us his Son; Christ gives us the authority and power through Him to call against Satan to pray for protection to follow through with intercession and prayer on our own behalves and others. If these instructions are so direct there must be a reason for it. If God requires us to be responsible and accountable to Him, again there must be good reasoning behind it. The world is dark, in the command of the Enemy. We are not strong enough to overcome the Enemy, except when we Have God doing it for us, and for that to happen we must be in God and walking in obedience and holiness, otherwise we are like a ship being tossed to and fro from the waves of the ocean, an anchor lost at sea.  You cannot be in one and be in the other.   The Spirit cannot indwell his wisdom, counsel, peace… when we are acting like the world. We can squash his presence and when that happens we are again vulnerable to attacks.

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Basically watch what is in your hearts, because the words that come out of your mouths is a direct indication of what your heart is speaking. Judgment is for God alone. However, he does call us to be discerning and cautious. We can be these things without slandering others. When the words are out for all to hear, the enemy can her them as well and he can provoke things to happen to cause you to fall into sin. It is better to stay silent than speak out when your heart is not Christ centered. As God says, as you do onto others, it will also be done unto you. There is a difference between calling a person to repentance and asking your children to stay away vs. slandering that person openly for others to hear.

Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

 When we fixate our attention or desires on the future, choosing to not obey God for fear it will affect our future standing in wealth, stability etc… we have chosen to sin and we have shown God we do not trust in His Sovereignty. We become a puppet to the enemy. And if you refuse to acknowledge this over time and not hear the Spirit corrections, your hearts may become hardened and you have now fallen into sin seeking behavior that will bring ruin to your life.   

Instead, when we pray or ask, ask with a God centered heart, knowing God is for us and our trust is unwavering…ask if it is God will…it will be done.

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