Brothers and Sisters,
(Jamess 4:1-12) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
James 4 is giving us a warning against worldliness. This is a real battle for us as Christians to remain unspotted from the world. (James 1:27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James tells us that in the world we have wars, fightings, lusts, killings and a desire to have (which is covetousness). He calls us adulterers and adulteresses which means that we cheat on God and are unfaithful when we get ourselves entangled in the world. He goes even further to let us know that friendship with the world is enmity with God and whoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God. This is some pretty strong language.
How can we keep ourselves unspotted from the world? James gives us the answer. It all begins with submission to God. We must start with submitting our will over to God’s will just like Jesus did when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:42) …nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
The next step to remain unspotted from the world is to “resist the devil”. I have found that without God’s help this is impossible. This is why our submission to God’s will is so vitally important. We must begin each day in prayer for God to help us with the challenges we will face throughout the day. None of us know what lies ahead in our lives, but God does and He has already gone ahead of us and is willing to help us if we will only ask. James said this about our asking and receiving, “ye have not because ye ask not” or “ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.
This brings us to the next step in the progression of keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. “Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you”. The way we draw nigh to God is by spending some time alone with him. We do this through prayer, reading His word and meditation on the things of God. In order to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, we must do these things on a daily basis. This cannot be accomplished by just simply attending church on Sunday.
Next, we are to “cleanse our hands and purify our hearts”. Paul said concerning Christ and the church that He cleansed it with the washing of water by the word. (Eph 5:26-27) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
I’ll just mention one other thing from this passage and that is to “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up”. Humility is the opposite of pride and is necessary if we want to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The 3 enemies we face each day are Satan, the world and our flesh and we are no match for any of these. This is why we must have the Lord to fight our battles for us. Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you and humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up.
May the Lord lift you up this morning in the struggle to keep yourself unspotted from the world.