Happy Monday! I hope your Thanksgiving was full of joy and blessings. Mine was wonderful and reminded me of all the things I have to be thankful for. Please enjoy these thoughts of James 4.
I think one of the key phrases here is "submit yourselves to God." When we realize how small we are, we won't be proud in our own strengths. It will humble us. I think that many of our failings in life probably have to do with our pride. For example, when we covet something it seems to me that we are thinking that we should have what others have because we deserve it! Jesus tell us that we will receive what we ask for in his name, and so James points out. However, he reminds us that it must be done from pure motives. We cannot expect our Father to grant our every selfish whim. So when we submit to the Father, He really will grant our prayers because we will be asking for what HE wants.
There are really only two choices: friend of God or friend of the world. James warns us that being a friend of the world means being an enemy of God. That's scary! I sure don't want to be an enemy of our all-powerful God. I want to be like Abraham, who was called a friend of God. Right before he is called a friend of God in James 2, it says that Abraham BELIEVED God. So our belief and submission to Him must be what makes us His friend.
When James touches on gossiping about people, I think the same idea of pride still rings true. The reason we put others down is because it makes us feel built up. If someone is doing something wrong, we can take pride in the fact that we aren't! Trust me, you've failed where someone else hasn't, so be careful with your words. Who are we to judge another? Rather, humble yourself before God and realize that you are flawed as well. He will carry us through His grace.
Lastly, I LOVE the idea that when we draw nigh to God, He draws nigh to us! How beautiful. As I mentioned here, the idea of God being like the sun, never changing, is powerful to me. The heat and light we receive from it depend on OUR position. When we push God away, He doesn't move-- we do.
Again, the theme here is submitting to the Lord. If we do, we realize that all plans are subject to His will. We can't ever say for sure WHAT will happen, but we do know that God will faithfully work things out so that His will is accomplished. Sometimes that's so much easier to say than live. But we need to acknowledge that even though it feels like we have some measure of control over what happens in our life, we don't really. God does. I don't think it necessarily means tacking a "God willing" at the end of every sentence we say about our plans, but it does mean that we recognize Him as the real source of authority. He makes the plans, not us. Thankfully, He ALWAYS knows what is in our best interest, so much better than we do ourselves!