“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
JAMES 4:1-10 NIV
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3 NIV
In this letter, James writes to fellow Christians, who were behaving like sinners. Before you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are dominated by your sin nature. You are carnal, worldly and ruled by your flesh and your senses. When you repent of your sins, ask God for forgiveness, and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are delivered from sin’s control, transferred from darkness to light, and made partaker of a new righteous nature. You are a child adopted into a new family – you are a branch grafted into a new tree. You are supposed to begin to yield to this new nature and not continue to do, speak and act the way you did before. Unfortunately, many Christians have forgotten (or never found out) which family they belong to. The nature of God resides in their heart, but they act like they still belong to the devil – they are fleshly and carnal.
The words God speaks to His children and the directions He gives them are not optional they are required. You ought to take God’s Word literally and seriously – it may mean the difference between life and death for you. Tell yourself, “God’s Word is speaking to me!”
Don’t be covetous. Covetousness is a jealous, murderous spirit that will destroy a brother for a material possession that means nothing in eternity. You fight and lust and crave, but you come up empty-handed anyway. God is your source – ask Him for the things you desire instead of going after your brother’s stuff. Adjust your heart attitude and ask unselfishly so that God may bless you.
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:4-6 NIV
Unsaved, carnal, worldly people are proud. They are self-sufficient – they are all they need – they don’t need God. However, a wise person realizes that they need God and that they are lost without Him. Christians should never look up to worldly people as their example, nor should they want to be like them. Rather, Christians should set an example for the world to follow. Pride is a terrible thing – it is an impenetrable barrier that will keep you from the presence and the blessing of the Lord, because you believe that you don’t need Him when you actually need Him desperately.Humility is the ability to receive that which you do not deserve. Your humility opens the door for you to receive all that God has for you, while pride keeps it firmly shut. God wants you to be blessed – humble yourself to receive from His hand all that He has for you.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV
Until you submit to God, you will not be able to deal with the manipulations and machinations of the devil against you. Your pride, arrogance and ego give the devil an edge. It is like a handle he can turn or a button he can push. When he places a thought in your mind, or when he uses someone to push your buttons, he knows how you will react – in a carnal manner. When your nose is proudly in the air, you are not watching where your feet are going and the devil finds his opportunity to trip you up.
Haughtiness comes before disaster, but humility before honor. Proverbs 18:12 AMP
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. James 4:8-10 NIV
You are not waiting on God – He is waiting on you. Make a move toward Him by humbling your heart; becoming as a little child; not trusting in yourself. Do not be confident in yourself or your own abilities. In doing this, you will be throwing yourself on His mercy and His grace and He will joyfully and willingly pour out His gift of grace upon you. You will find, in Him, everything that you need and you will be fully satisfied in and by His presence and His provision.