You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.” [James 4:4-6]

This verse makes me think about the rules we had when we were little. You know the ones - you thought they were silly or stupid but your parents insisted they be upheld. When my brother and I were little, we were not allowed to go past the tree line when we were playing outside. We could play anywhere in our front yard - as long as our parents could see us. If we passed the tree line, they couldn’t see us anymore. I used to hate that rule. We would want to play just a little bit farther down the road, because from our perspective everything looked fine and safe. I think that idea that rules and guidelines exist, in some contexts, for our own benefit is important to understand. God doesn’t call us to be higher to be manipulative or bossy or controlling. He calls us higher because he loves us, and he wants the absolute best for us.

THE LORD ALWAYS CALLS US HIGHER OUT OF LOVE

It’s so important to know that when this verse calls God “jealous” that it is referring to the same idea - that God loves us so much that He wants the best for us. His jealousy is a reflection of his deep love for us. It is so encouraging to me to know that God isn’t complacent or indifferent towards us. When we do things that he doesn’t like, his heart breaks for us. He cares enough to want better for us. He is so active and present in our lives. James wants these readers to know that when they choose other things over God, that God doesn’t gaze on with an indifferent attitude. I think this verse reminds me of the times that God has shaken me up a little to help me realize how in it he is.

Pray that you gain a heavenly perspective on your life. Ask God to speak truth and encouragement into your life. Know that shame is not of God, and that when He calls us higher, it is out of love.

-Sarah S.