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James 4

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

Here James addresses how a living faith in Jesus Christ responds to worldliness (being controlled by the sin nature instead of the Holy Spirit). Such worldliness is seen in self-centeredness (vv. 1-10), not loving other Christians (vv. 11-12), and ignoring God in daily life (vv. 13-17).

Over time, a believer’s love for Christ can cool (Rev 2:4) and lose sight of God’s holiness (2 Cor 7:1). A Christian can become focused and centered on himself and gratifying sinful desires. This is described in verses 1-5 and the biblical solution is prescribed in verses 6-12.

Christians can also forget how Christ loved them when they criticize and tear down other Christians (v. 11a). This happens by failing to believe and obey God’s law of love (v. 11) and taking God’s place as final judge (v. 12).

Last, Christians can ignore God in their daily lives when they make plans without God (vv. 13-14). This happens when Christians assume that tomorrow will be the same as today (v. 14a), thus forgetting how fragile and short life is (v. 14b). Instead, Christians should submit everything to God’s will (v. 15) rather than ignoring him, which is proud (v. 16) and sinful (v. 17).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. It is easy to think of worldliness in terms of external things. Truly, such can be evidences of worldliness, but the root is in the heart (Matt 12:34; Mark 7:21-23). One can have a worldly heart and yet look “righteous” on the outside.
  2. A critical spirit is easy to get, hard to lose, and is a mark of worldliness (being controlled by the sin nature rather than the Holy Spirit).
  3. There are aspects of God’s will that are known to us because he has told us in Scripture (this is called his declared will) and there are aspects of his will that are unknown to us because events have not yet occurred (this is called his decreed will). Deuteronomy 29:29 describes these two aspects of God’s will. What is your response regarding God’s declared will and his decreed will?
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