“But he gives 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. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." James 4:6-10
In order to experience strength in the journey of faith and to finish well, we must be grounded in the reality of the work of Christ alone for our justification. We must know ourselves and we must know/resist the enemy.
James 4:6-10 teaches us we resist the devil by under-standing that God gives grace to the humble, we are to submit to the Lord and his Word, we stand on the promises of Scripture, and we cleanse our hands and purify our hearts as true worshippers.
We also ought to to be people that understand we are to grieve over our sin and repent.
1. There is a joy that is superlative and glorious. It is the emotional response to the mercy of Abba Father, the saving work of the God the Son, and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 4:6-8; 16:8, Matthew 5:12, Luke 10:20, Romans 12:12, Philippians 3:1; 4:4).
There is a “laughter” that is silly and void of the understanding of the permanent things of life.
"A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity." Ecclesiastes 7:1-6
3. All believers are sinners which leads to times and degrees of being “double-minded” or questioning the goodness and mercy of the triune God.
"This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh." Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 13, Article 2
…therefore we are to be a repenting people.
Genuine repentance begins, but by no means ends, with heartfelt conviction of sin. It begins with heart-rending recognition of having defied a holy and gracious God, by embracing what he despises and being indifferent to what he adores. Repentance involves more than knowing in one's heart: “This is wrong, I have sinned. God is grieved.” Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of behavior.
The father disciplines or corrects us in love in order that we may taste true joy.
"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer." Psalm 32:1-4
The Lord’s desire is that we hear shouts of deliverance and joy.
"You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance." Psalm 32:7
“Our experiential communion with Christ is always dependent on our sincere and heartfelt repentance from sin. We are all together safe and secure in our eternal union with Christ, due wholly and solely to God’s glorious grace. But our capacity to enjoy the fruit of that union, our ability to feel, sense and rest satisfied in all that is entailed by that saving union is greatly affected, either for good or for ill, by our repentant response when the Holy Spirit awakens us to the ways that we have failed to honor and obey God’s revealed will in Scripture.” Sam Stormes, The Christian and Repentance (tgc.org)
1. Am I “quick to listen (to correction), slow to speak (in self justification and rationalization), and slow to become angry”? (James 1:19)
2. Do I have an attitude that says “Lord everything I know to be sin and everything you show me in the future to be sin I am willing to forsake”?
3. Am I more concerned about grieving God than I am with the consequences of my sin (attrition vs contrition)?
4. Am I willing to accept personal responsibility for my actions without pointing the finger to blame anyone else?
5. Am I willing to take whatever steps necessary to make restitution for my sin?
Have I at any time in the past year experienced genuine repentance, resulting in a change of attitude and/or behavior?