“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:7-10
My hope and prayer for anyone reading this is that you would never be in a position of life where you feel content in where you are in your relationship with God, but that you would always want more. More of God, more growth, more of his love, more of his power, more of his grace, more of his goodness, so much more. The problem is, we make receiving more of God way too complicated than what it should be. In these few verses of James we are given five specific ways to come near to God and have more of him.
We first learn that we must submit to God. When I think of submitting to God I think of a relationship with God that is totally and fully committed to him and his will. Submitting to God means laying down our wants, dreams, and desires, and seeking God above it all. To submit to God we must make our relationship with him our biggest and greatest priority in life.
Secondly James tells us to resist the devil. The simplest way to put this is don’t allow the enemy to entice or tempt you. Think about an area of your life that you struggle with weather it be with sin, temptation, or lies that from the enemy? I want to encourage you to resist it by not putting yourself in situations that will bring that temptation to surface. For example if you know you struggle with drinking, going downtown might not be the best situation to put yourself in because you will be surrounded with people drinking and encouraging you to life a lifestyle that might not be best for you. Notice James says that when we resist the devil he will flee from us. So as we avoid putting ourselves in tempting situations, the enemy will have no option but to give up.
Another way to come near to God is when James tells us to wash our hands, and purify our hearts. As Christians we are called to live a pure life. Of course we are human and will not be perfect, but it is important to live a life that strives to be cleansed from sin. We should come to God and replace our desire to sin with a desire to know him more.
Next we see that we are called to grieve, mourn and wail in regard to the sin in our life. Keep in mind that James is not saying we need to walk around and pity party about things. Instead James is encouraging us to deeply hurt about sin or mistakes that we have made where we would want nothing to do with it ever again.
Finally we must humble ourselves before the Lord. Remove any pride you might feel, and just fully give yourself to God. He wants every single part of you, the good and the bad. In that moment of being humble before God, we are told that God will lift us up. By humbling ourselves we will be able to see that our worth comes from God alone.
Dear God help us to know that you are near, and that we can have more of you simply by seeking to be more like you. Change our hearts and cleans us from anything that distracts us from you. We love you Lord.