The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Pride And Humility

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you my spend what you get on your pleasures" (Jas.4:1-3).

Whew! To this point in the epistle of James, he has included praise, rebuke, blessings and curses. Nothing a reader has encountered until the 4th chapter can prepare him or her for the severe denunciations found here. If you have already read the chapter, you might think that James' language is "over the top," and how readers are to understand it might be puzzling. Lets remember that after reading the first three chapters, without oversimplifying the starkness of James' words, that he has developed a penchant for hyperbolic language. For example, he wrote this; "Has God not chosen the poor of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?" (2:5). Surely, James did not mean that every poor person is rich in faith. The use of hyperbole is a conscious exaggeration used to emphasize a point, so we cannot dismiss lightly the case being made as he addresses severe problems that continue to infect churches. Today's verses (4:1-3) draw a stark contrast to what James wrote previously in 3:17-18. In 3:17-18, he says this; "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." Much of the problem that James is addressing stems from the favoritism shown to the rich by the poor (2:2-3) Hoping to receive a few crumbs, contrasted with sharp words of bitterness they reserved for one another. So James writes in chapter 4 about quarrels and fights that come from your desires that battle within you.... In essence he is saying that they were sycophants before the rich, hoping to get stuff for nothing and be granted favors. Most of James' readers lacked both material and spiritual prosperity because they failed to ask God in the right way... We must be careful so that we do not fall into that same trap. God is always there for us but we must ask in love and humility, not with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (4:3) Sometimes the bitter language that James uses is necessary so that we are jolted back into reality and stay on the right path... Pride can lead us to desire pleasures that can only hurt us and those around us....

Have a great start to your week.... Begin it with a RAK or two.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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