Text: James 4:1-12
For the past couple of years, we have prayed for a lot of things. We prayed for our Vacation Bible Schools, for sick people, for our brothers to pass the board exam, for our lot and building etc. There are many requests that has been answered and there were requests that were not answered.
But what do we feel if our request has not been answered? What do we feel if the Lord gave us the opposite of what we are praying?
Today, the message of God is all about submission. We will be learning what areas in our lives needs submission.
Submitting Our Needy Life To God (v.1-3)
People are always willing to fight in order to have what they want. Some fight for money, some for property, some for the love ones, and some for power. Verses 1-3 tells us the human nature of men. Humans are very prone to lust. Eve was tempted with her desire to gain more wisdom, wisdom like that of God (Genesis 3:6).
Human nature tells us “you need to have this, you need to have that”. By nature, we always want something and never been contented.
Some needs are valid especially to places where there is scarcity of food, clothing and shelter. But why is it that even if the need is valid, we do not receive it? The book of James says, it is because we do not ask. And there are those who asks yet haven’t received anything. The book of James says, it is because we ask with the wrong motive. We ask so that we can “consume it for our lusts”.
What does it really mean to submit our needs to God? It simply means depending on God for our daily needs. It is not asking God to give us.
Submitting Our Mission Life To God (v.4-6)
Going out from this room means engaging again to the daily task of the world. The Bible is very clear that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God.” Please also note that “being friendly to the world” is equivalent to adultery, which means being unfaithful in the eyes of the Lord.
Let us remember that the book of James is all about work. We have seen in the previous sermons that we have discussed that our faith should always be accompanied by actions. We also have discussed that we have to do good to all people, both Christians and to non-christians as well. And now, we are reading against being friendly with the world.
The warning here is all about conforming with the world and not about having a peaceful relationship with the people around you. This passage is all about not doing the evil things that the world is doing.
The world is our mission field. This is why we have to be apart from the evilness of the world. If we have witness in our naked eye how evil the world is, then we need not to conform with them instead, to become good examples, a model of God’s people.
Verse 5 warns us about the jealousy (envy) of the Holy Spirit against worldliness. God’ message in these verses tells us that there is a need of submitting both our mission field and our mission life to God that we may become good examples to the world and that the world may respond to his call.
Submitting Our Spiritual Life To God (v.7-10)
Now that we already have submitted our needy life and our mission life, we also have to submit our spiritual life. God wants us to “resist the devil, wash our hands, purify our hearts, grieve mourn, wail and humble ourselves.”
This is now all about our personal lives. What are the things that we have to confess? What are the things that we have to give up? Was it disobedience? Was it rebellion? Was it cheating? What are the things that can stumble us? It is time to give it all to our Lord.
After all these mournings and wailings, what’s next? The passage tells us that God will “lift you up”.
Submitting Our Relational Life To God (v.11-12)
“No man is an island”. Each one of us has its own circle of friends. Each one of us have a friend to trust. All of us here are interconnected with each other. And the passage tells us that “Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.”
There were times that it is very easy for us to judge other people, even our own brethrens. But the Bible speaks that we are not to judge them because judging them is as good as judging the law, and when we judged the law, it means that we are not keeping it instead we are sitting in judgement on it.
Our relationship must be nurtured, must be taken care of. If we have problems with each other, we have to see to it that we settle it among ourselves so as living in accordance to the word of God. And God wants us to submit our relationship with each other to the Lord.
There are many things that can hinder our love and our service to God. Sometimes our need takes over our service. We worry too much of what will eat and drink. But God is telling us to submit it to God. Sometimes we are intimidated by the world so as we want to appease temptations resulting to conformation to the world. Instead, God’s message is telling us to submit it to the Lord so as making us good examples as children of God.
What about our personal spiritual lives? What is the problem within in us that sometimes we think of backsliding? There are times that it is indeed very hard to overcome it. But this is what God is saying to us, we cannot revive ourselves. God wants our full submission to Him. He is the one who will lift us up. Finally, we have to submit our relationship with each other to God? Is our family hindering us in serving God? Did a fellow brethren in the Lord offended us? There is only one way to settle it, submit it to God.