Google+ 01/02/13 The Undivided House!

James 4:7-8

 

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

Wash your hands, you sinners;

Purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.  

 

There is much comfort in today's Scripture, so enjoy your conversation with God!  As we know, there were four men named James that are mentioned in the New Testament.  The James we are reading from today is none other than the half-brother of Jesus.  Like his brothers, James did not believe in Jesus as Lord until the end of Jesus' earthly ministry (John 7:1-5).   James received a special post-resurrection appearance by Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7), experienced Pentecost (Acts 1:14), and was the leader of the Jerusalem church throughout most of the history of Acts (15:13; 21:18).  James was martyred about 62 A.D.  James is often referred to as the "Proverbs" of the New Testament, because of its practical, rather than theoretical, approach.  Why is all this background so important?  James was the half- brother of Jesus, interacted with him personally, and did not believe until the very end.  This fact should make you feel both better and worse!  If you have ever doubted the everlasting salvation you can have through Jesus Christ, you are in good company.  Best of my knowledge, none of us have ever physically lived with Jesus.  Like James, this fact should also make you sad because of the lack of faith we sometimes have.  Hence, James' instruction today that we should humble ourselves before God.  That means give up everything and completely surrender.  Don't keep anything a secret.  By the way, Jesus already knows!  James says "resist the devil and he will flee from you."  Wow!  Right now you are saying, "You mean all I have to do is tell the devil to be gone and he will leave?"  That is exactly what that means.  Frequently, this is not easy as the devil ties himself to some people, activities, or items that we really like.  Sometimes Satan uses our family members against us.  It is hard to dismiss Satan from them, as you may very well need to dismiss them too, if they are not able or willing to resist temptation.  Satan may use a newer car or bigger house for his place of dwelling.  These things, in themselves, are not evil, but the devil can use them as tools to convince us that we are better than someone else.  A gathering of "believers" is not an evil event by itself, but if the evening progresses into Satan creating heavy drinking, gossip, or lewd behavior, many people can be hurt.  None of us consciously sets out to be used by Satan, but he is crafty and deceitful.  How do we prevent this?  The Scripture tells us.  "Come close to God and God will come close to you."  Notice the order?  Boy, do we misunderstand this one.  How many times have you heard, "God is everywhere?"  Yes, He is, but in order to truly be in fellowship with Him and have His light dwell in us to destroy the darkness, we must call on His name.  It is not a passive relationship.  There is no "God sensor" that automatically connects us to God.  We have to do that intentionally on our own.  Then James tells us to wash our hands.  James then says the most devastating thing that is true, but we simply don't want to hear it.  James says, "your loyalty is divided between God and the world."  It is, you know.  This is the daily struggle we have.  Today, as you "polish up" the "New Life" I wished you yesterday, please stay close to God.  Renounce any evil presence in your life.  Wash your hands thoroughly.  The Bible tells us we can't serve two masters.  So, work to only have one.  The world won't like it as you dismiss people, activities, family members, some churches who have lost their first love, evil jobs and co-workers, and any other satanic influence in your life.  But the result will be an "undivided house!"