Showing posts with label Christian lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian lifestyle. Show all posts

19 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 4:1-6

B4 Chapter 4
C1 The Christian life—placing ourselves under God’s authority James 4:1-12
D1 Believers Should Know the Origin of Personal Wars and Arguing James 4:1-3
D2 Believers Should Know Being Friends with World Is Enemy of God James 4:4-6
D3 Believers Should Be Humble and Resist the devil James 4:7-10
D4 Believers Should Know Not to Slander Judge Wrongly James 4:11-12

James 4:1-6 WEL Where do arguments and strifes among you [come] from? [Don’t they come] from your lusts that are at war in your bodies. 2 You covet something and do not get [it], so you kill. You zealously desire [for things] but cannot obtain it, so you quarrel and fight. You do not get things, because you do not ask. 3 You ask, and do not receive, because you ask with wicked motives, in order to squander it on your lusts. 4 You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God? 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says for no reason, “The Spirit that lives in us yearns because of envy?” 6 But He gives greater grace. That’s why he says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Henrietta Mears writes on James 4: The world consists of all the things around us and the spirit within us that are blind and deaf to the value of spiritual things and care nothing about doing the will of God. The devil has organized this world on principles opposed to God in every way. They are principles of force, greed, ambition, selfishness and pleasure. The believer should be crucified to this world. (Source)

Fights=
  • The Greek word for fights (wars, arguments, etc.) is πόλεμος pólemos. It means war, battle, fight, dispute, etc. Robertson’s Word Pictures has (polemos, old word, Mat 24:6) pictures the chronic state or campaign, while machē (also old word, 2Co 7:5) presents the separate conflicts or battles in the war. So we have a conflict that is a continuous battle that no one will stop.
  • The Greek word for strifes (quarrels, fightings, etc.) is μάχη máchē. It means contentions, fights, etc. As we see above it refers to the individual battles.
  • These are hot headed arguments that each person feels so strongly that they will fight even to the point of destroying their fellow believer.
  • We have a choice as believers. We can live our lives in the world’s lifestyle or God’s lifestyle. The world’s is results in disorder, confusion, and societal ills. God’s lifestyle results in peace, love, joy, etc.
  • Which lifestyle do we prefer?
  • How do we avoid fighting?
    • Know the truth
      • Truth is reality.
      • God’s ways are best. Isaiah 55:9 NLT For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
      • His yoke is easy. His yoke is His rules. Matthew 11:30 NLT For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
      • His ways are decent and orderly: 1 Corinthians 14:40 NET And do everything in a decent and orderly manner.
      • They are characterized by the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 NET But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
      • Human ways lead to death: Proverbs 16:25 NLT There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
      • God’s ways lead to life: Romans 8:6 CSB Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
    • Know love
      • Love is a choice.
      • We can choose to do God’s will that results in peace or not do God’s will that results in death.
    • Know what God thinks about it
      • God wants the brothers and sisters to live in peace:
        • Colossians 3:15 CSB And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
        • James 3:18 NIV Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
      • Don’t seek revenge. Let God do it, if it is needed. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
    • Know ourselves: Do we want peace?
    • Know humility: Philippians 2:3 NLT Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
    • Know forgiveness: Colossians 3:13 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
    • Know priorities: Luke 10:27 NIV He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
    • Know God’s assistance: Luke 10:27 NIV He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.
Lusts=
  • Desires
  • There are fleshly desires. Not all fleshly desires are evil. They need to be in moderation. Romans 13:13-14 GW We should live decently, as people who live in the light of day. Wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, rivalry, and jealousy cannot be part of our lives.  14 Instead, live like the Lord Jesus Christ did, and forget about satisfying the desires of your sinful nature.
  • There are godly desires.
    • Proverbs 11:23 NET What the righteous desire leads only to good, but what the wicked hope for leads to wrath.
    • Psalm 27:4 NET I have asked the LORD for one thing - this is what I desire! I want to live in the LORD's house all the days of my life, so I can gaze at the splendor of the LORD and contemplate in his temple.
    • Matthew 5:6 NET Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  • This is God’s will for us: Galatians 5:24 NLT Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
Prayer= John 15:5 CSB I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
Enemy of God= We can resist God and willing disobey, but it comes with a penalty. We must not fight God: Acts 5:39 NIV But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
God resists=
  • He does not answer prayer.
  • He does not bless.
  • God chastens believers, not blessing the disobedient
God jealous=
  • Adam Clarke states: Perhaps the word in this and the two succeeding verses may be well paraphrased thus: “Do ye think that concerning these things the Scripture speaks falsely, or that the Holy Spirit which dwells in us can excite us to envy others instead of being contented with the state in which the providence of God has placed us? Nay, far otherwise; for He gives us more grace to enable us to bear the ills of life, and to lie in deep humility at his feet, knowing that his Holy Spirit has said, Pro 3:34: God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Seeing these things are so, submit yourselves to God; resist the devil, who would tempt you to envy, and he will flee from you; draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.”
  • JFB commentary: “Does the (Holy) Spirit that God hath placed in us lust to (towards) envy” (namely, as ye do in your worldly “wars and fightings”)? Certainly not; ye are therefore walking in the flesh, not in the Spirit, while ye thus lust towards, that is, with envy against one another. The friendship of the world tends to breed envy; the Spirit produces very different fruit.
  • Craig Keener in his IVP Background commentary states:
    • Here James may refer to the evil impulse that, according to Jewish tradition, God made to dwell in people; on this reading, he is saying, “This human spirit jealously longs,” as in Jas 4:1-3. Less likely, he could mean that one’s spirit or soul longs and ought to long—but for God (Psa 42:1-2; Psa 63:1; Psa 84:2).
    • A third possibility is that he may be citing a proverbial maxim based on such texts as Exo 20:5, Deu 32:21 and Joe 2:18, summarizing the sense of Scripture thus: “God is jealous over the spirit he gave us” and will tolerate no competition for its affection (Jas 4:4). (Like Jewish writers, New Testament authors sometimes midrashically meshed various texts together.) This view seems to fit the context somewhat better than other views, given that Scripture did not speak this “in vain” (Jas 4:5); but the “greater grace” of Jas 4:6 could support the first view above.
Proud=
  • Have a difficulty accepting God’s opinion if it differs from theirs
  • Proverbs 8:13 ESV The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
  • 1 John 2:16 NIV For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world.
  • Proverbs 6:16-17 NIV There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
  • Luke 14:11 NIV For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
  • A warning to us: Isaiah 2:17 NIV The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
Humble=
  • Philippians 2:3-8 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross!
  • We are to live in humility with God. Micah 6:8 NIV He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Questions=
  • Name some differences in words and actions that show the difference between the Christian lifestyle and worldly lifestyle.
  • What is the origin of most disagreements, wars, fights, arguments, etc.?
  • Why does God state that without Him we can do nothing?
  • State some reasons God hates pride and love humility.
  • We all need to ask, “How are we doing?”