4 You have become spiritual adulterers who are having an affair, an unholy relationship with the world. Don’t you know that flirting with the world’s values places you at odds with God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy!
5 Does the Scripture mean nothing to you that says, “The Spirit that God breathed into our hearts is a jealous Lover who intensely desires to have more and more of us”?
6 But he continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says,
God resists you when you are proud
but continually pours out grace when you are humble.”
7 So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. 8 Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting. 9 Feel the pain of your sin, be sorrowful and weep! Let your joking around be turned into mourning and your joy into deep humiliation. 10 Be willing to be made low before the Lord and he will exalt you!
In our passage today, James reminds us we are in the world, but are actually citizens of heaven under Christ’s Lordship. God desires to set us apart from the world and culture, because he wants all of us—every aspect of our being to reflect the righteousness of Christ’s heavenly kingdom. We are his Bride and he wants a pure and faithful one. Therefore, we must choose whom we will serve. Our humility before God brings us the power of grace to combat evil and bring God closer.
James gives us five ways we can come near to God: 1) Surrender to God’s authority; 2) resist the temptations of the devil; 3) replace our desire for sin with a desire to please God; 4) express sorrow when we do sin; and 5) humble ourselves before God. How wonderful of the Lord to give us the Holy Spirit to help us remain faithful as we fight our inclination to sin against God’s authority. Let’s move our hearts closer and closer.
Prayer: Lord, you are the One who gives my life worth and value; this world can never accomplish what you do for me. Help me to work with your power to bring change to my life. Thank you for your mercy and grace to help me in my shortcomings. I press on… In Jesus’ name. Amen.