Friendship with the World
1Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn't it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? 2You want something you don't have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. 3Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.
4You people aren't faithful to God! Don't you know if you love the world, you are God's enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”? 6 In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say,
“God opposes everyone
who is proud,
but he blesses all who are humble
with undeserved grace.”
One summer I sat outside with my sons and a few of their friends. One of the friends started laughing at us.
“What is so funny?” I asked.
“You all laugh exactly the same, you can sure tell you are family,” he replied.
Do you have traits that give you away as a member of your family?
Well, James, in his language and style reminds us that he is certainly the half brother of Jesus. If you put Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the book of James side by side, you’ll notice the similarity even in how they speak.
James was born of Mary, but describes himself not as the ‘brother’ of Jesus but a ‘servant’ of Jesus (James 1:1). He was a man of humility though recognized as a leader in the early church right after the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19). He was also a man of prayer. He listened to Jesus and certainly is one we should pay attention to when he reminds us that God opposes the proud.
Pride is like a basin. It holds the many sinful passions and attitudes that our sinful nature produces. It is the cause of most quarrels and conflict. Rather than serving God and loving others we are caught up in ourselves. Pride is the antithesis of grace. An ‘arrogant’ believer is totally blind to the ways of God.
Remember James did not believe Jesus prior to his appearing to those gathered in the Upper Room after his resurrection. He experienced the grace of God, and we can too.
From a repentant, forgiven heart, James kind of scolds us. He tells us that our walk must match our talk. If we fail to fulfill the plan God has for our life, it is likely pride that is the primary reason and cause.
Jesus, forgive me for the many times I act and speak like I am not even a believer. This scripture is so practical. As I see more of your character, I feel like I am in some unspecified place between your wisdom and my pride. Give me discernment and humility so I can confess my pride.