This morning I read James 4:1-12 and listened to Francis Chan discuss this scripture. Today I mean to share both with you and add my thoughts on this important teaching.
James 4:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Warning Against Worldliness
4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.[d] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:1 Greek pleasures; also verse 3
James 4:1 Greek in your members
James 4:4 Or You adulteresses!
James 4:11 Or brothers and sisters
8 :: The Book Of James With Francis Chan
He is JEALOUS for me
A few months ago, I met with a close friend and we discussed the importance of placing God at the center of our affections. I argued that one cannot love a person more than God without killing that relationship with the burden to satisfy.
What we love most, is our God. Whatever our God is, we rightly center our lives around, seeking its best, and the satisfaction for ourselves that comes from relationship with that "god".
By this understanding of "god" we see, that we can make our wives, or husbands, kids, or jobs, our "god". Hopefully we can also see, that when we do, we necessarily heap burden upon these "idols" (a.k.a. false gods), burden to "complete us", to satisfy us, to fulfill us. This burden is deadly to any earthly relationship.
God being perfect, loving and desiring our best, knows that our affections are only rightly pointed at Himself. As God, He rightly desires His own glory, and seeking our best, He rightly desires our humble submission to Himself.
On this basis, I am arguing that He is rightly, righteously and lovingly, "jealous for me".
As the song says "He is jealous for me... oh, how He loves us so"
Only God Satisfies
Our partners, kids, friends, possessions, professions are NOT perfect. No worldly relationship or object can satisfy our longings, nor fulfill our quest for meaning. We have in us a God shaped hole, and no matter what we place there, it will never fill. We were made by God, to be in relation with God, and so none but Him will ever satisfy our desires.
So, when we look to imperfect people or things to fill us up, we are left wanting, we are left disappointed. Worse still, as we "worship" an idol (which just means love them before we love God), our "love" which is our "worship", destroys with the burden and weight of our need for fulfillment.
Our love becomes a burden when we love a person above God because as we love something before God, the object of our affection is tasked with the burden to satisfy us, and they cannot. This love therefore destroys because it cannot help but bury our loved ones beneath feelings of inadequacy.
None but God can fill us up
With Christ Jesus we have a perfect, eternal loving King, Lord and Savior, who is worthy and capable to satisfy. No other is worthy, nothing else is capable. Only when we love God first do we rightly worship God, and only in that posture of worship and humility can God pour into us his loving Spirit, by which are we sated. Moreover, only as He sates our hunger, thirst and emptiness, can we then pour out into others rightly, adequately, and sacrificially, as God intends us to do.
So we look to God as the center of our affections, not to the detriment of our other loves, but for their sake.
Because by the power of the love God pours into us, through Himself, can we love our wives, children, and world as it desperately needs: sacrificially.
As 1 John 4:19 says: "19 We love because he first loved us."
In James 4:1-12 we see that James chastises loving the world before God, because to cherish anyone, or anything above God is to be an enemy of God.
So we, His church, must seek God above ALL else, not to the detriment of all else, but for their sake!
Praise God, that His love is so big, so great, and so satisfying, that we may by His power, change the world one heart at a time. Lord help us rest in your satisfying glory. We pray these things and give these thanks, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
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