Changing Sides

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Since God gives grace to the humble...

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For two Sundays, we talked about an alternative lifestyle from James’ perspective. His point being there is the world’s side and there is God’s. We have long talked about choosing sides in one way or another. As we have seen in our discussion of the larger text, it’s not about choosing sides, it’s about choosing to change sides. Once we leave the state of innocence into which we are born, the world is our default side. God’s side, or the alternative lifestyle, has to be chosen.
We left off last week with James quotation of Proverbs 3.34.
Proverbs 3:34 NIV
34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
In verses 7-10, he expanded what he meant.
James 4:7–10 LEB
7 Therefore subject yourselves to God. But 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 gloominess. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
These verses would complete the sentence, “Since God gives grace to the humble...”

Therefore (then)

Because of what he said in vv 4-6.

Be humble

NIV is literally correct putting the word subject (submit) as the first word in the verse.

Titus 2:9 NIV
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,

This is the same word James used and the meaning is the same.

Since God gives grace to the humble, we should hear the word of God as the word of a master to a slave.

Resist the devil

The word resist presupposes some kind of pressure that one has to push back against.

Hebrews 12:4 LEB
4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin.

The devil as used here symbolizes the friendship with the world James mentioned earlier.

The implication here is the devil doesn’t really like a fight.

There are enough easy targets that he will move on if he finds us unresponsive to his temptations.

Come near to God

To renounce the world for the Kingdom lifestyle is to automatically draw nearer to God.

What we may also draw from this statement is that being near to God is the best way to resist the devil.

Choose the way of humility again and again.

Set apart for God (make holy) your thoughts and deeds.

Don’t keep trying to live two lifestyles (double-minded).

Out yourself for God.


James isn’t being a killjoy in verse 9.

He is saying a festive attitude is inappropriate for citizens of the Kingdom who are friends with the world.

The verbs James used signify repentance for those who recognize how they’ve strayed.

“Don’t try to sit at tables that Jesus overturned.”

Humble yourself before God

Matthew 18:4 LEB
4 Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child, this person is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,

“There is a God and I’m not him.”

And God will exalt us…dang!

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