Growing up, I always wanted to please other people, make them happy, so they would be pleased with me. It made me feel better. Me. Me. Me. The thoughts themselves were not bad things, but the motives were not pure. They were about me and how people viewed me. That’s not me anymore. Life has taught me that it’s not about me, it’s about HIM, the one who created me. It’s not about pleasing others for selfish gain, it’s about pleasing The Lord and revealing Him to a watching world. It’s all for His glory.
Making friends with the world is no longer my aim, as I pass through this life. And I’m thankful for that. There is freedom in that. James 4:4-5 says, ” You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” And then comes his warning…”Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. ” Lord, make me more of an enemy to this world!
James 4 continues to offer much more instruction on how we can please the Lord and avoid falling into the traps of worldliness. In verses 7-11, James gives us some great words of wisdom to follow. I’m jotting these down on a note card and placing them by my bed, so before Satan starts attacking my mind ( which is the very moment my eyes open) I can grab these and make it my aim for the day, preparation for the battle that awaits me. Here they are…
1. Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee. (v. 7). Open your eyes and be looking for Satan’s traps. Be sure to it that he is prowling around waiting to devour you!! That’s his purpose. And he’ll stop at nothing to see to it that we fail. Be watchful. Sober-minded.
2. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands. (v. 8) Guard yourselves from doing evil by letting his Word wash over you. Be quick to confess your sins. And constantly in prayer asking The Lord to remove any evil deeds that may be hidden within you. Know His ways and respond to them. Seek Him. You will find Him there.
3. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (v. 9) A familiar “beatitude,” will enlighten you, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. ” (Matthew 5:4). Recognize the wretchedness of your own flesh and your tremendous need to be cleansed of it. Have a contrite spirit. Ask God to cleanse you. You will be blessed.
4. Humble yourselves. He will exalt you in due time. (v. 10) Boast not of yourself but boast in The Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you any evidence of hidden selfish tendencies that separate you from God. As they rear their ugly heads and are exposed to the light, turn away from them quickly. Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!! You can’t afford any hesitation. Don’t think too highly of yourself… Thinking you are above the tricks of the serpent. You’re not! Be constantly dependent upon The Lord. At all times! Exercise humility. Eventually, it will bring about honor.
5. Don’t speak evil against another brother (or sister. ). (v. 11) It’s not your place to judge another. God hates this! He is the judge, you are not. What kind of righteousness is gained from it? Zero. Quarreling, jealously, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder… Do we think God judges these lightly?? No. It grieves him. And it should us as well. Put them to death. They have no place in the life of a follower of Christ. When you are tempted to open your mouth against another, quickly repent. Ask The Lord for His help. Pray for that person instead. You are a doer of the law not the judge. Leave that to the King.
What great reminders we find in Chapter 4 of James. And what a great reminder of our desperate need for You, oh Lord, in our lives. Make me an enemy of this world. I want to live to please You!