Tuesday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on October 13, 2020 byunder
Scripture: James 4:1—5:6 (NKJV)
4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
If we are humble in the Spirit of God these words from St. James should stir our hearts! We are all sinners, so we have all done or thought things that can be judged under his admonitions. But if our heart and mind say, “I had good reason for seeking my own will…,” then we are in a dangerous situation. Such attitudes destroy fellowship.
Our Lord does not teach us to be prideful toward one another. Jesus walked in humility to teach us what real fellowship looks like. If we seek our own will and treat our brothers and sisters with contempt or spite, then our hearts are resisting the Holy Spirit and we give occasion for relations to be damaged. Our Lord doesn’t want us to condone sin or ignore wickedness, but we are to address problems according to His will, not according to our own efforts to manipulate the situation. As James wrote in chapter 3, “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
This is why our Lord teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” True humility according to God’s Spirit teaches us to see others as Christ sees us. He shows us grace as He teaches us, corrects us, helps us, and forgives us. He would have us do likewise to others. That is how fellowship is helped and built up in Him.
Prayer: O God, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, mercifully grant that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.