Yesterday we looked at James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” Submit, and Resist: two things we are told to do. But the passage continues…
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Like the image in a mirror, as we take a step closer, the image moves in too. James spoke of a mirror earlier in chapter one of his epistle:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25).
We need to gaze continually at Christ, coming near to Him in worship, prayers, obedience and study.
“Wash your hands, you sinners…” Isaiah prophesied something similar: “Your hands are full of blood; wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.” (Isa. 1:15,16) We cannot just come for forgiveness; we must where possible make amends, change our course, sin no more. As James earlier demanded, “…get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:21).
“Purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Here too James has previously spoken, “…you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:6-8)
“Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” There comes a time when silliness just simply must end. Serious business must be done in this life. It is the one brief moment which determines our eternity.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:8-10). We can have no other logical stance as we come before our Maker. He owes us nothing. We owe him everything, but have nothing. It is only by His grace He may give us salvation.