Trouble’s Source and God’s Solution
Day: 17 | Plan: Living Faith
Today's Reading: James 4
James 4:6 (NIV) "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'"
It doesn't take much to realize our world is in a state of constant turmoil and chaos. Division, fighting and finger-pointing are found everywhere. Conflict finds its way into our communities, churches, schools, marriages and homes.
Sadly, fights and quarrels in the Christian community are still just as prevalent today as they were in James' day. In James 4, we find some practical insight into the source and solution to all our conflicts.
James tells us the reason there are fights and quarrels among us is because of the internal desires within us. (James 4:1-2) We don't get what we want, so we fight. Or we are bent on pleasing ourselves even if we hurt others and ourselves in the process.
The problem lies within every human heart. We are at war with someone else because we are at war within ourselves. Some conflicts are visible to all. But many are unseen because they take place on the battlefields of our hearts. The war within can express itself through internal animosity toward others or outbursts of verbal disdain.
Oh, the inner struggle and war within. Our flesh wants what we don't have. We either want something that belongs to someone else, or we want something outside of God's boundaries. For Christians, our flesh fights to exalt itself and God's Spirit within us resists. It's like a tug of war taking place inside of us as the Spirit strives against the flesh and its influence. We do or say or think things we know we shouldn't and the war wages on. (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:15-20) If we aren't careful, even our prayers become selfish. When our prayers are pleasure-driven and we ask with the wrong motives, we won't receive. (James 4:3)
Throughout Scripture God regards His children who live for their own pleasures as unfaithful. James uses strong language because when we desire the things of the world more than we desire the things of God, we commit spiritual adultery. The battle is real for every believer. Once we start to flirt with the world, we will be seduced by it.
Here is the sobering part: This friendship with the world places us in direct opposition to God. (James 4:4) God regards those who are friends with the world as enemies or foes. (1 John 2:15-16; Matthew 6:24)
But there is good news. Even when we sin by seeking our pleasures and fulfillment from the world - God loves us! When we stray or wander in our affection for Him - He remains faithful! Remarkably, even when we want to selfishly pursue our own desires, He offers a solution.
The solution is found in the next few hope-filled, encouraging, comforting words, "But he gives us more grace" (James 4:6a). Did you catch the phrase "more grace"? James isn't referring to saving grace; as believers, we have been given that. More grace literally means greater grace. In other words, God gives us an ever-increasing supply of His grace to live as we should in this fallen world. The flow of His grace is constant, and there is always more to follow. (John 1:16)
For every struggle we face, He gives more grace. For every battle raging within, He gives more grace. When seduced by worldly desires, He gives more grace. For every area of personal weakness and repeated failure, He gives more grace.
Regardless of our situation or need, there is always more grace. If you are held captive by imploding self-centeredness, and you want deliverance, there is grace for the asking. His grace is the solution for our sin and worldliness.
Is there any condition to receiving God's grace? Yes. We must humble ourselves and ask Him to supply us with the grace we need. The only reason we don't experience the fullness of His abundant grace flowing through our lives is we haven't humbled ourselves to ask. (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 3:19) Our selfish pride immediately shuts off the flow of grace, but our humility opens up the pathway for God's grace to freely flow. When we submit to God and humble ourselves, a new nearness to God is ours and with it an outpouring of His grace. We are saved by His grace and we are sanctified by His grace. It's by His grace we have the strength we need to stand against the devil and his worldly schemes.
What if we determined right now to humble ourselves and actively draw on the grace of God to conquer the conflicts within? What if we decided to ask Him to fill us with His grace and show us how to do our part to contain the conflicts around us? Are you willing to humble yourself and actively draw on the incredible power of God's infinite, matchless grace?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You see my heart and You search the hidden parts. I confess my heart is often selfish and in conflict because of my desires. Purify every part of me - my heart, my mind, my attitudes, my emotions and my will. Quicken me with Your Spirit so that I will humble myself and release my will in submission to You and Your will when conflicts arise. Show me the truth about myself and help me actively seek to draw on the sufficiency of Your grace for every situation and need I face. In Jesus' name, amen.
Let's explore trouble's source a little deeper. "Don't they come from your desires that... Read More
Download the First 5 app to get the full experience