James just won’t stop. Chapter One: my difficulties are REALLY God’s blessings. Chapter Two: be nice to smelly poor people in church. Chapter Three: my tongue is forever spewing restless poison.
Chapter Four: my quarreling and fighting with others is my fault. I “kill” (hate) others because I covet what they will not give me – their admiration and approval. I don’t have what I want because I don’t ask God, or I ask with the wrong motive – pure (or should I say impure) selfishness. I am so friendly with the world’s way of being and thinking and acting that I have casually wandered into spiritual adultery.
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I am trapped in my hideous flesh in a diseased world, from whence cometh my help?
But he gives us more grace.
As great and real and formidable as those giants of trials, poisonous tongues, covetousness, selfishness are – and James does not diminish them – he gives me hope and life in those six monosyllables: “But he gives us more grace.”
James tells me the truth about me – I am spiritually destitute. Then he tells me the truth about God – his powerful hand extended in love and support. Able and perhaps entitled to push me back into the gutter, instead he would lift me out, if I will not foolishly shrink back. The LORD says to me:
“Submit to me, Guy. Does the devil trouble you? Resist him, he will flee, for it is me he sees in you now! Like a jackal to a lion he fears my roar, like a wolf to a shepherd he avoids my staff. Come near to me now, I will draw near to you. Does your sin trouble you? Wash its grime from your hands in my blood – no other fount will do. Drop like a bag of useless rocks your addiction to thinking that your ways are equal to my ways, your opinions equal to my truths. You were not made to be double-minded, any more than you were made to be sober one moment and drunk the next. You will feel lighter, freer, safer, and happier. It will do you good to grieve, mourn and wail for your past squalor, but my son – it is past! Go from false joy to gloom, and then – to true joy.”
“Come, take my hand. Let me lift you up. I have spent my life caring for you. For the rest of your life, we will be together.”