Life-Study of Jamesby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered three major problems found in 4:1-10. These problems are pleasures, the world, and the Devil. In this message we shall go on to consider what James says in 4:6-17.
In verse 6 James says, “But He gives greater grace; wherefore it says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The pronoun “it” in this verse refers to the Scripture in verse 5. The latter part of verse 6 is a quotation from the Septuagint, Proverbs 3:34. This verse says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” According to the context, this means to be proud toward God. Being proud toward God causes Him to resist us. To be humble is also toward God, and this causes Him to give us grace, as He desires.
We need to learn to draw near to God (v. 8) to receive greater grace. Instead of being proud and resisting God, we should receive in meekness the implanted word. Someone who is proud cannot receive God’s implanted word. If we are humble, we shall receive the implanted word, and we shall also receive greater grace.
In verse 7 James continues, “Be subject therefore to God; but withstand the Devil, and he will flee from you.” To be subject to God is to be humble toward God (v. 10; 1 Pet. 5:6).
To be proud toward God is to side with God’s enemy, the Devil. To be humble toward God, that is, to be subject to God, is to withstand the Devil, that is, stand against the Devil. This is the best strategy to fight God’s enemy; it always causes him to flee from us.
The flesh implied in verse 1, the world in verse 4, and the Devil in verse 7 are the three major enemies of the believers. They are related one to another: the flesh is against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17), the world is against God (1 John 2:15), and the Devil is against Christ (1 John 3:8). The flesh indulges in pleasures by loving the world, and the world usurps us for the Devil. This annuls God’s eternal purpose in us.
In verse 8 James goes on to say, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Here, as in 1:8, James uses the expression “double-souled,” double-minded. In 1:8, being double-souled is related to doubting in prayer. God made man only one soul with one mind and one will. When a believer doubts in prayer, he makes himself two-souled, like a boat with two rudders, unstable in direction. In 4:8 being double-souled is a matter of having the heart divided for two parties—God and the world. This makes people adulteresses (v. 4) and sinners, who need their hearts purified and their hands cleansed so that they may draw near to God and that God may draw near to them.
In verse 9 James says, “Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into dejection.” This verse is a solemn admonition to God’s adulterous spouse, who, under the usurpation of the Devil, indulges herself in fleshly pleasures by loving the world.
In verse 10 James concludes this section: “Be humbled before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” This word, as a conclusion to this section (vv. 1-10), is an exhortation against the fightings and desires mentioned in verses 1 through 3.
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