Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
James 4:1-10 (NRSV)
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
In this passage, James cautions us of the consequences of yielding to our human weaknesses and reminds us that when we submit to God, God will lift us up. In verses 7-10, James gives us very specific commands about making a break with our worldly life. We have to decide whether our allegiance is to the things of the world, or to God; we can’t live with one foot in the world and one foot in the presence of God.
Right in the middle of James’ directives to us is one of my favorite verses: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (verse 8). What a beautiful, comforting thought! The verse makes me think of how it feels to lean in towards a loved one, feeling them lean towards you for a warm embrace—a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child. That embrace communicates something without words, whether it is love or support or encouragement. Today, take time to draw near to God and feel the warmth of God’s presence. Lean in.
Loving God, thank you for your faithfulness to us when we are so weak and unfaithful to you. Help us release our bonds to things of the world, in order to dwell with you. Today, impress on our hearts the desire to draw ever nearer to you. We ask these things humbly. Amen.
Go with God.