Devotional: ‘Humbling Ourselves Before God’

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James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 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 week we have been studying about the sin of selfishness. According to James, those who focus only on themselves usually have – an inner conflict within themselves – an outward conflict with fellow believers – and an upward conflict with God.

Yesterday we began studying what James tells us is the cure for selfishness and self-centeredness. In our study we saw that James commands us to:

1) James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God…

2) …Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

3) James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…

Today we look at the remaining three commands.

4) James 4:8 …Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Though James may have been referring to all types of sin, I suspect that he had primarily in mind the sins that are often associated with selfishness and self-centeredness. What sins might these be? Paul gives us such a list which includes: slander, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and malice.[1]

5) James 4:8-9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 

It is a wonderful blessing to know that we are now living under grace. However, if we are not careful, we can be tempted to abuse God’s grace and use it as an excuse to sin.[2]  Rather than being sorrowful for our sins as James commands us, we act as though our sins are not that big of a deal. It has been my experience that we never get the victory over any sin that we view lightly. In order to defeat sin, we must confess it as sin and seek to eradicate it from our lives. [3]

6) James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Last but not least, we must humble ourselves before God and allow Him to bless us according to His perfect will and timing. I close our study for this week with these words from Peter –

1 Peter 5:5 … Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…

[1] Ephesians 4:29-32

[2] Romans 6:1; Galatians 5:13; Jude 1:4

[3] 1 John 1:5-10

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