James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
One of the most awesome truths about the grace of God is that there is more of God’s grace available to the believer after they are saved. Grace is not a one-time thing that happens at salvation, for one of the simplest definitions of what grace is I got from my Pastor Dr. Mark Barclay years ago. Grace is “heaven’s help”. We are saved by grace because it is only with the help of heaven one can be born again, but once born again we can continue to receive the grace of God (heaven’s help) in all area’s of our life and we should be doing so. This week I want to reveal from the book of James how we can receive more of God’s grace into our lives.
Notice here in James 4:6 we are told that God gives more grace and then he immediately tells us that God resists the proud, but He gives additional grace to the humble. The word “resists” is defined as to oppose. One who is not humble is someone who is doing their own thing. They are choosing to disregard what God says and are choosing their will and their way over God’s. This reveals the first of six things we will look at in these verses.
- Remain humble
To receive God’s help we must remain humble. In this verse above humility is the direct opposite of pride. One who is humble is someone who remains teachable, correctable, and yielded to another. As Isaiah tells us God’s ways and thoughts are not ours, they are higher. When we are unwilling to be taught God’s ways or even God’s thoughts we are choosing our thoughts and ways above His. True humility not only is willing to yield to what God tells us to do, but also what God says about us. If we are not saying about us what God says we are in fact walking in a form of pride. Doing so will keep God from being able to help us. As a man thinks so is he, so if we are thinking thoughts about us that are not in line with what God thinks, we are going to miss out on what He desires for us to walk in.
A key to remaining humble as well is what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that he died daily. We must make a daily choice to die to the old nature’s will of doing and thinking, and we must choose to yield to God’s way of living. As believers we are to live by faith everyday. Doing so requires us to both learn how the God-kind of faith works and what faith then does according to the scripture. Faith involves us receiving the promises of God, but faith also involves our obedience to the Word of God. Humility is where we deal with our will to choose God’s will over our own. When we do so this leads us to the second thing James revealed about receiving more of God’s grace.
- Submit to God
Submission to God and humility may sound like the same thing, but it is humility that will lead us to submit to God. Humility is a choice of the will; submission is the action we then take to walk out God’s will by being obedient to God. This takes faith as I just mentioned. Faith believes, speaks, and acts in line with God’s will. If we believe what God says is true as to how we are to live our life, then we will speak in line with His Word, and we will then act upon it. This is where our submission comes in.
God has already put in place spiritual laws. When we choose to not submit to God’s ways we are going against what God has already done to put in place spiritual laws that will help us to receive the grace we need in this life. If we truly believe what God says is true, then we should have no problem doing what He has said but this is where the flesh in the area of humility gets in the way. If we have not dealt with flesh in choosing to humble ourselves to God, then obedience will not follow.
But even if we are choosing to yield our will to God’s we cannot then procrastinate knowing what God has said about how we are to live our lives and then think that somehow things are just going to happen. We must be willing (humble) and obedient. Obedience without willingness will also only last for a time, but will become a bondage to most and will eventually be abandoned, as it will not work.
When you look for example in Hebrews 11, which is known as the hall of faith, you see over and over again people who were willing to obey what God had told them to do. For example it took Noah 100 years to build an ark for a flood that had never been seen before. If Noah would not have had a willing heart it is doubtful he would have ever finished the ark. But he persevered and when the flood came he and those who helped him build the ark were saved from the flood. As James 1:22 tells us if you hear the Word but are not a doer you will be deceived, but if you are a doer you will be blessed. No one can do the Word for you. You are the only one that can do what God has said you should do to get more of God’s grace working in your life.
- Resist the devil
The third thing we must do is resist the devil. When you get humble and then start obeying the Word, guess who is going to try and stop you? The way he does so is through your thoughts. You must deal with and immediately address any thoughts that come, which try to get you to think contrary to God’s Word, or stop walking in obedience to the Word. The devil will try to convince you it does not work. If you do not resist him he will not flee. The thoughts will persist and those thoughts will become words. Our words are seeds that begin to bring forth fruit, good or bad. So as a believer don’t wait to resist the devil, the minute the first contrary thought comes bring it into obedience to the Word of God. Doing so will keep your faith active and strong, and it will keep you from giving up on God.
- Draw near to God
The fourth thing James reveals is that we need to draw near to God. The heart of Christianity is not about us just walking out the principles of God in our life. The heart of Christianity is about a relationship with God who wants to fellowship with us. Many in the church today are trying to budget God in their life because even though they want God to help them, they don’t get to know God, they just know about Him. If we only know about Him we will lack understanding of all He is and all that He desires for us. When you get to know God intimately you will encounter more of the grace He has for you because you cannot separate the grace of God and the God of grace. They are one. It is like I have heard my Pastor say about America today. America wants the grace of God, but they don’t want the God of grace. So take time to draw near to God through His Word and through time in prayer. As you get to know Him better you will encounter more of God’s help for your life.
- Cleanse your hands of sin
There is unfortunately some today who teach that once your saved, it really doesn’t matter if you sin or not, but it does. Sin is still destructive. When we choose to sin we are in fact breaking fellowship with God. God still loves us, but we are choosing to break fellowship with Him when we choose to sin. Notice we have to cleanse our hands of sin. This means we must make the choice to turn from sin. Scripture reveals God always makes a way of escape from temptation, but we have to choose that way of escape.
When we sin two things happen and as I have already shared we break fellowship with God. This is revealed in 1 John 1:5-9 that if we are living in sin and say we have fellowship with God that is not true. But if we confess our sins, turn from them, cleansing our hands of sin, then we return to fellowship with Him. When we are in sin it also affects our confidence in God as 1 John 3:21-22 tells us that if our heart does not condemn us then we have confidence toward God. When we sin our heart does condemn us with the guilt that is associated with sin. Repent, turn from it, and you can have complete confidence in God’s grace to provide the help you need in life.
- Purify your heart from being double-minded
In James chapter one we are told a double-minded man is one who doubts God. The word double-minded is defined as dual loyalty. One who has their heart set on the world and on God. 1 John 2:15 tells us that if we love the world or the things of the world that we do not have a love for the Father. This will affect our faith in God to receive more of His grace for faith works through love. Where doubts persist there is a purifying from the things of this world needed, even if it is just thinking like the world. To get rid of this double-mindedness we must cleanse our heart (soul) through the Word of God, renewing our mind so that we are no longer conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).
So as we do these things we can get more of God’s grace, heaven’s help, to provide the assistance we need in this life. Don’t settle for less than God’s best. God’s best is to be humble, and become a continual partaker of all of the grace that God has available for you.
See You Again Soon For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker