Today's passage: James 4
In my junior high physical science class, I remember playing with magnets. I learned about the magnetic poles, how opposite poles attract, and the same poles repel.
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." God and I are opposites. He is holy, loving, forgiving, gracious and merciful. I am unholy, unloving, unforgiving, ungracious and unmerciful. The problem is when my pride creeps in. Then I think I am all the things that God is. I begin to think well of myself, when without God's grace, I can not be like Him at all. If I become holy, loving, forgiving, gracious or merciful, it is not because of anything I have done, it is because God is working in me. God resists me when I think I am the same as He is. We are then like the same poles on a magnet, and I may try to come to Him, but am pushed away. When I think we are alike, I can never come close, because my pride is the force that is pushing us apart. When I realize I am nothing like Him, we are like the opposite poles on the magnet and I am drawn to Him. My humility is the force that attracts me to Him. I might also add, that the strongest magnets are the most difficult to pry apart. The more humble I am, the closer to God I will be, and the harder it will be to pull me from Him.
So I know I have a problem with humility, but what do I do about it? How do I cast out pride? Verse 7 gives the solution. I have to submit to God. Easy enough. Don't I do that already? Am I submissive? I'm trying to think of every area in my life where I don't submit, and am already becoming proud because I think I am. Now I'm thinking about submitting to my husband. I am not always as submissive as I should be, I'm better than I used to be, but I still find myself trying to take control. Definitely not being submissive to God. Then James says to resist the devil. No problem. I stay away from evil. I don't do improper things. Well, well, well, look who thinks she has it all figured out. No wonder pride drives such a wedge between me and the Lord. If I think the devil does not know the areas of weakness in my life, then I am foolish. Anger, selfishness, laziness are just a few of the areas the devil tempts me with daily. God says to resist those and the devil will flee.
Verse 8 says to draw nigh to God. I do this through reading my Bible, praying, and hearing His Word through preaching and Godly music. I can do a lot of things for Him, but if I am never spending time with Him, I am not going to get any closer. It is through these things that I recognize the pride in my life and can banish it. Then He says, "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." My hands get dirty when I get involved in the things of this world. Pride steps in and ahems, "Your hands don't steal, or pick up alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Really, how can your hands be dirty?" My hands spend more time on the computer keyboard than they do cleaning my house windows. My hands make angry gestures when I've lost my temper with my husband and kids. My hands are not folded in prayer enough. My hands are definitely dirty, Mr. Pride, and its you that keeps them that way, trying to make me believe there is nothing in my life I need to improve. Being double minded is trying to live in the world and trying to live for God at the same time. It can't be done. I am sometimes tempted to wear that eye-catching dress hanging on that mannequin even though we don't have the money for it, and its just slightly immodest. I've lost weight now, it would be flattering on my figure. Well, the hemline is a tad short, and the neckline is a little revealing. Worldly thinking. That restaurant, it seems so hip. It looks young and fresh and modern and yes, I could buy a week's worth of groceries for the amount of one meal there, but eating at that place would give me status. Double minded. Sometimes, I want to do the things of the world because I want to seem "with it". I don't want to seem frumpy and old-fashioned. But what is attracting me to God? Those worldly fashions and ways only repel me. I am not saying I can never buy new clothes or go on a date with my husband to a nice restaurant. But when my mind is wrapped up in doing those things, when it becomes a mindset, I am trying to live in two worlds, and that can't be done.
Verse 9 talks about being afflicted, and mourning and weeping and laughter and joy turned to mourning and heaviness. Does God never want me to be happy? I thought Christians were supposed to be joyful. I've just gone through a list of things to cast out pride. I cannot be rid of those things without a few tears. If I am not crying a little over those things in my life, they must not really bother me, and I am less likely to do anything about them. I can be blissfully ignorant about those problem areas in my life and pride will continue to push me away. But if I am broken over these things, that is when I am truly humbled. I can't laugh and joke about these areas, I need to recognize them for what they are and weep a little about them, so I can allow God to help me eradicate them.
Pride is that invisible barrier that continues to repel me from You, Lord. Help me to be submissive, to put the devil in his place, to visit with you each day, to keep my hands clean, to resist worldly pleasures and to weep when I get it wrong. I am so unlike You, and I want to always recognize that we are poles apart so you will not resist me.