Tag Archives: the book of James

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7, NIV)

Today’s scripture selection is a “summary verse” of James’ explanation of the source of our internal conflicts and of our external strife.

The solution to this serious problem is two-fold: (1) Draw near to God, and submit to His rule in your life, and; (2) resist the devil.

Today’s focus is on #2.  On Friday, I will address #1.

The devil is intelligent, experienced, practiced, cunning, and persuasive.  He is not irresistible.  In fact, our simple resistance foils his tactic of playing to our desire for the immediate gratification of our physical, emotional, and spiritual desires.

Our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are real — and they are important. Therefore, resist the devil’s “good” offers.  Wait, wait, wait for our heavenly Father’s better, greater gifts.  – Luther

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“Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”  (James 3:13, NIV)

Deeds done in humility are particularly fragrant because the person performing the deed is not doing it to draw attention to herself.  Wisely, she sees a higher purpose and a bigger plan in play.

The greatest deeds, by God’s estimation, are performed in obscurity; the left hand unaware of what the right hand has done.  The greatest deeds provide help to the helpless; hope to the hopeless; and empower the disenfranchised.

Everyone — regardless of title or status — can live a life of humble service to others and to God.  Make this your ambition.  With wisdom comes humility.  – Luther

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“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.  It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  It is full of mercy and good deeds.  It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”  (James 3:17, New Living Translation)

In today’s scripture selection, James contrasts earthly wisdom with heavenly wisdom.

Earthly wisdom’s perspective is 70 or 80 years — enough only to cover our time on this earth.  If you think you can outrun to the grave the scales of human justice, what is to prevent you from being contentious, rude, and unyielding in your dealings with others?

On the other hand, heavenly wisdom has an eternal perspective.  It recognizes the reality of spiritual things, and of God’s reckoning.

Resist earth’s Siren call to its ways and to its wisdom.  Other people may scoff at your “naivete,” but only for the short span of their lives.  The approval of God is forever!  – Luther

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