e martë, 24 korrik 2007

James 4:1-12 (cont.)

Passage: Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 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. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 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. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?" But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

Therefore submit 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. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 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. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Journal: I thought our relationship with God was one of joy. Why does James direct his brothers and sisters in Christ to turn their "laughter [to] mourning" and their "joy to gloom?" The context here is our approach to God, as we "draw near" to Him. As one makes this approach, a certain aspect of the environment becomes obvious. That is, God is holy and the one approaching is a dreadful sinner. This is where James sees his readers, and this is a solemn place to be. ("Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.") Our communion with our Father suffers greatly if we are smug and satisfied. One cannot more fully appreciate God, and His suffering, until one appreciates the cause of His suffering, which is the sin of His children. The world laughs at sin. A child of God must be broken by sin. The world finds joy in earthly pleasures and vain pursuits. Children of God must "humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." One does find joy in sweet communion with God. This sweet communion must recognize the suffering Savior, and this recognition is manifested in the brokenness over sin's captivation and allure. It is at the cross where we see God most clearly, and it is at the cross where He bore our sin most dearly. This should provoke our lamenting; and our mourning; and our weeping. Do you see Him hanging there? "Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." Yet, the sin was laid low, while the redemption was raised high.

Heard 'Round the House:

Song (age 9) and Anna (age 7) were frightened a few days ago by a mystery show on channel 13 (I know, great parenting). They have been afraid to sleep in their own beds. Last night, as I was putting them to bed, I had this philosophical exchange with Anna.
Daddy: Anna, I want you to remember that God is in control of everything. Nothing and no one, including you, is outside of His eyesight. So, if you wake up in the middle of the night, I want you to think about that, turn over, and go back to sleep.
Anna: God decides whether we live or we die.
Anna (continuing): I think I'll go with the living side.