Friday, April 13, 2007

Just some thoughts from some time with the Lord

James 4:4-10

4 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.

5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

It is not hard these days to become a “friend” of this world system. When we turn away from God we inevitably turn toward something or someone else (which is idolatry). It has been my experience that I have let the world influence me in my turning from the Lord. There have been times when I have bought into all of the intoxication of this world and in essence made “friends” with the world allowing it to indoctrinate me with its temporary lusts and pleasure. James 4:4 calls this adultery. We, like the Israelites, leave the God that saved us from darkness, and the rule of satan, when we begin to bow our knees to the fleeting pleasures of this world. When we are friends with the world system, loving all of the vanity more than we love God, we begin to hate God and love the world. If we are not on guard satan will lure us with the bait of wealth, pleasure, sex, material possessions, until we are so stuffed in our souls with garbage that there is no room left for God. We become FAT on this world. James 4:4 says that if we are a friend of this world we are an enemy of God. He is not talking about the world as far as trees, grass, and etc. He is talking about the love of the world system. The Holy Spirit within us will envy and war with the flesh over us to cross over and take our stand on the side of God because on God’s side we are safe. We are always safe in obedience to the Word of God…ALWAYS. Verse 6 says that when we take up friendship with the world that God literally resists us. The word for resist in the Greek is antitassomai {an-tee-tas'-som-ahee} it means to range in battle against, to oppose one's self, resist. God literally opposes us and ranges in battle against us. The thing is when we oppose God we can ALWAYS be sure that we will lose every time. His ways are perfect. In Him is complete perfection and He will when in battle every time! Verse six goes on to say that He gives grace to the humble. James goes on to tell us that if we are in opposition to God that we are to submit ourselves to Him. The word for submit is hupotasso {hoop-ot-as'-so} and it means 1) to arrange under, to subordinate 2) to subject, put in subjection 3) to subject one's self, obey 4) to submit to one's control 5) to yield to one's admonition or advice 6) to obey, be subject. So when we submit to God we are subordinate to Him, we obey Him, and yield and submit to His authority and His control. No matter how proud we have become or how far we have strayed and wreaked havoc on our lives and the lives of others we can return to God, humble ourselves before Him, turn from our sins, and receive mercy and grace. He does not resist the humble. When anyone cries to Him in earnest repentance our God, who knows the hearts of men, hears from heaven and forgives and heals. The challenge for each one of us is to live in daily, moment to moment submission to the Father. In submitting to God we must then resist the devil and he will flee from us. The word for resist used here is different from verse six it is the word anthistemi {anth-is'-tay-mee} It means 1) to set one's self against, to withstand, resist, oppose 2) to set against. When we submit to God we resist the devil by withstanding, opposing (in the power of the Holy Spirit), and setting ourselves against our enemy and the lust of our flesh. When we resist him, he will flee from us. The devil can be handsome, enticing, exciting our passions, and inviting. He will try to offer a lot and in end the end he will betray us every time since he is the father of lies (and buying into his lies we can create some devastating consequences). One way to resist him is by prayer and the word. There have been times when I have felt allured or my passions aroused and I had to immediately state scripture and the truth I knew about God. When I prayed, or even fasted if it be necessary, the Lord gave me the victory over him every time. When I decided to let my passions rule me and openly disobey I let the enemy win and gave into his demise. I would always be sorry for not submitting to God and experience the consequences of my rebellion. The more we disobey, the more the consequences until sin and the enemies grip get a “strong-hold” on us. The quicker we obey the better! Next, draw near to God and He will draw near to you. We need regular cleansing from the Lord by confessing our sins in prayer and asking Him to give us godly sorrow that leads us to repentance. There have been times in my life where I wanted to do what my appetite craved and I had to cry out to God and say “Lord, I know what your word says but this is what I want to do and it is in complete opposition to Your will…PLEASE give me godly sorrow and Fear of You that will keep me from sinning.” Another thing in cleansing we must be strict about the things that we allow in our souls. If we sit around watching and listening to things that arouse ungodly passions we will eventually become tainted and be led into ungodliness. There are so many things as believers that are good that God has provided for us. We are blessed with wonderful music, books, nature plenty of things that God calls “good.” I think it is so easy to get focused on what we can’t or shouldn’t do (like Eve in the garden) that we don’t focus on all of the wonderful things God has put before us. If we focus on the “cannot’s” we begin to buy into the lie that God is holding out on us and we start to try to take matters into our own hands. You won’t have to flip far in the Old Testament to see examples of God’s people thinking that he was holding out on them. Look at Abe and Sarah they tried to “help God out” by having him sleep with Hagar and they got “the product of the flesh” which was Ishmael and you can see the conflict to this day between the Arabs (Ishmael) and the children of Abraham (from God’s supernatural intervention of giving them Isaac). Look at the Israelites…God delivers them with a mighty hand and outstretched arm out of their land of slavery. If you will remember in Egypt they suffered greatly at the hand of Pharoah. God leads them out with many miraculous signs and wonders and what do you find them doing? In Exodus 16:2-3 the whole community grumbles. Let me let you read it for yourself:

2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

3 The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

God brings them out and they “forget” what God has done for them and convince themselves that “Egypt” was better. They later decide that they need to get a leader to take them back there instead of believing God for their promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. We have to be in the daily business of renewing our minds with the Lord. This will mean making His word and time spent with Him priority. I love my time with the Lord and long for it when I am feeding the Spirit and not the Flesh. Our time with the Lord does not have to be a drudge. I think most people would agree with me that it becomes a drudge when we hide from Him because we know we have gotten out of fellowship with our sin. So we then need to draw near all the more and come into agreement with Him over our sins and accept His forgiveness and keep walking with Him. Pray for a love and hunger for His word. He will give it to you. As we constantly renew our minds and pray lies will be exposed for what they are and He will send forth His word and heal us. Verse eight in James speaks also of us being double minded. That is the trouble with sin. When we begin to gratify the flesh we can’t have both. We can’t have life in the Spirit and life in the flesh gratifying our own desires. It is one or the other period. To be double minded means (dipsuchos) 1) double minded 1a) wavering, uncertain, doubting 1b) divided in interest. We are divided in interest when we are not on the Lord’s side in obedience to Him. If you have sinned like I have you will know and understand what it means to want God but you lie to yourself and tell yourself that you will start being obedient tomorrow after you have done what you wanted to do. Verse nine speaks of weeping and mourning over our sin. I believe this verse is an accurate description of what godly sorrow is to grieve and weep and mourn over our sin against God and literally being sick of it to the point where we are liberated and that sin no longer is appealing to us but that we find it repulsive instead of alluring. As we humble ourselves before the Lord He will lift us up and restore us from places that may have been long devastated. He still holds victory in store for the upright.

Proverbs 2:7-15

7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-- every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,

13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,

14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,

15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

No comments: