Drawing Near

February 17, 2015

James 4:7-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Drawing Near

James gives us a strong admonition here reminding us prior to these scriptures that our friendship with the world is enmity and rebellion against Him. His Spirit is jealous over us as His possession. It is His will and desire that we honor Him with the fidelity and faithfulness of our hearts. If we wonder why we are in such a state of disconnect with our God this may well be why. A sanctified people are a separated people. We are disassociating with the world, its standards and its ways as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord’s service and His purpose.
James now admonishes; do you want to get back into right relationship with your Lord? Do you want to know His fellowship and closeness again? It first starts with submission. Until we are willing to submit our self-life to Him we are going to be double-minded and adulterous in our thinking and doing. First, we must submit ourselves through repentance and consecration of our lives and wills to Him.
We should know up front that if we have been allowing the devil access into our lives then just because we change our minds and hearts doesn’t mean he easily gives us up or leaves us alone. Temptation will come which brings us to Jame’s second admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He resisted the devil by speaking the Word, “It is written…”. Our power to resist the devil is never in our reasoning or rationalizing with him. He knows how too artful twist the Word to pervert it to his own ends. Resist the devil by standing on the truth and declaring it over your life and circumstances. As an example, do you know that Romans 8:37 declares, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This word, “more than conquerors” in the Greek is hü-per-nē-kä’-ō. This word indicates no small win, but a great, pre-imminent and surpassing victory. This word indicates you just kicked the stuffing out of your adversary. It wasn’t even close. Your victory in Christ is so superior, overwhelming, and indisputably complete. In your resistance of the devil come into complete identification with the Victorious One and stand on your complete victory through Him who is completely and utterly victorious over all the powers of sin and the devil.
Thirdly, “come near to God and He will come near to you.” This passage is all about the restoration of that fellowship and unity that has been broken because we have been double-minded, trying to please ourselves and please God also. It is like dating another while you are married to your wife or husband. Your spouse is jealous over you because you have entered into a covenant with him or her, promising to forsake all others. If you want right relationship, you have to be single in your love and affection for that spouse. We are espoused to Christ and our covenant, sealed in the blood of Jesus and the earnest of His Spirit, is with Him.
Fourth, purify your hearts and wash your hands. Separate yourself from all impurity of spirit, soul and flesh. Renew your mind through the washing of the water of the Word and put away from you all impure and unholy things. The hands speak of our works and doings. When we wash our hands we are separating and cleansing them from the works of iniquity. We are choosing rightly and doing the works of righteousness.
Fifth is the change in the attitude of our heart. In verses 9-10 we are reading about a true attitude of repentance, not just in our heads, but in the inner depths of our heart. This is a deep cleansing act of repentance where we become very grieved over our sin and rebellion. We have a true revelation of how we have called ourselves Christian, but have been anti-Christ in our behavior and compromise. This is an attitude much like Peter had after he realized he had just denied and forsaken his Lord. Because of the repentance of his heart and his willingness to humble himself the Lord forgave and restored Peter. He will do the same for us if we will get our hearts right before Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, but recognize, acknowledge and do what is required so that you may have a right relationship with your Lord again. God is in the business of restoration, so no matter how far you have wandered or how much condemnation you may feel, Jesus wants to restore you to right fellowship and relationship with Him again. Just honestly, completely and without reservation give back to Him your whole heart, mind and soul. His blood will wash you. His Word will renew your mind and His Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth if you will turn your back on all of the past darkness. He loves you with a complete and unconditional love. He abides faithful, even when we are faithless. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you!

Blessings,
#kent

The Source of Our Life

November 9, 2012

James 1;21-25
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

The Source of Our Life

Life flows from the inward parts. The source of our life and the well-spring of its origin are manifested in the taste of that which flows out of us. That is why James asks the question in James 3:11, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Can there be, should there be, two sources of life flowing out of us? The tongue is what betrays the source of our life. It can not be tamed, but speaks what is in the abundance of our heart.
James is saying that this duality and duplicity of nature is not of God. We produce the fruit of what we are planting within our minds and hearts. If is showing up as ungodliness then it is telling us that Christ isn’t our central and primary source of life.
Within the church and many of our own lives there is such a mixture of flesh and spirit. That is understandable to a degree, we are in the state of change and transformation., While we have been crucified with Christ we should be moving in the direction of that place where we no longer live, but Christ is living in and through us. For that to happen we have to be eating out of the garden and from the seed of His life. We must be in constant communion, fellowship and relationship with Him. When we compartmentalize Christ into just certain areas or times in our lives, then we haven’t fully sold out to His life alone. We are living in spiritual adultery as we drink from other cisterns or wells that are not the waters of His Spirit and life. “Adultery” is an ugly word that we don’t like to hear or relate with, but we have to all ask ourselves, where am I drawing my life continually from? Many of us want a spiritual life, but in a worldly context. Thus we are choosing to partake once again of that which Christ died to deliver us out of.
Jesus says we can’t choose two masters. We can’t be both spiritual and worldly, for in doing so we pollute the waters of His righteousness and life. Listen to what James 4:4-10 says, ” You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
It is not the Lord’s heart to condemn us through this word, but open our eyes to where we are, where we are going and what is being produced through our lives. Yes, we all make mistakes along the way, but where is our heart? What are we living fully for and where are we drawing our strength and life to live in that way? God want us to be the purified flow of His life, producing godly fruit in this world. He wants us to remember where our identity is; in Him and not in this world. The world knows Jesus, by what they see in you and me. If we aren’t the real deal, then how will they ever know or even want the real deal. Live out of the life of God that you may produce the works of God. We are often so quick to judge others when it is ourselves we need to judge and correct.
Come, let us repent before the Lord and return unto Him with our whole hearts. Let us continually and solely drink from the wells of God’s salvation and life.

Blessings,
kent

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