2019-01-09 / Religion

Surrender your will and submit to God

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

James 4:1-10

Self-centeredness and self-exaltation are locked within the human heart, fountain of life. These attributes can show different levels in each life. These factors can be “tamed” and show themselves in many different socially-acceptable forms. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior, this “sin nature” becomes dormant. The Apostle Paul wrote to the young church, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

After the “birth of the church,” the group was tolerated for a time. These believers were seen as, simply, a “splinter group of Judaism.” Their teachings were not accepted by certain groups of Jews. This fact led to persecution. The man, Stephen, was the “first Christian martyr.” This murder caused many of these believers to flee the city of Jerusalem. Acts 8:1. This fact became a major factor in the spreading of the message of the Gospel.

As the number of groups, churches, grew, false doctrine began to “rear its ugly head.” The various factions began to “choose sides,” causing conflict. The letters written by the Apostle Paul addressed many of these issues.

During the earthly ministry of our Lord, his siblings did not recognize his divine nature. John 7:5. At some time after the ascension of our Lord, he appeared to his brethren, and some of them accepted his divine mission. His half-brother,

James, became a leader in the church at Jerusalem. This now-church leader was aware of the existence the different “splinters” of their groups.

James wrote a letter “to the 12 tribes which are scattered abroad.” James 1:1. He addressed many areas of every-day living, as it related to the christian life. This man did not draw back from issues that were bringing great stress, and distress, to the groups of believers

It should not have been necessary for this servant of God to need to ask this question in any of the young churches. However, he asked, “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” James 4:1a. He continued, as he answered his own question, “come they not from hence (here), even of your lusts (pleasures; sensual delights) that war in your members (Note: used of body parts)?” James 4:1b.

The Apostle Paul addressed this same topic as he wrote to the church at Corinth. These problems continue to our day. The same human spirit that hindered the groups in the past has the same effect today. “Ye lust (have a strong desire), and have not: ye kill (envy) and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” James 4:2. In our day, there are those who teach that one can “demand” certain actions from our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe. The word “ask” that is used by the writer of old means, “ask as a supplicant.” We make the request, and leave the final outcome in the hands of our Loving Father.

James continued his explanation of the problem and answer. “Ye ask, and receive no, because ye ask amiss (for evil influence), that ye may consume it upon your own lusts.” James 4:3. We need to test our own motives, regarding the things that we ask!

When one turns to some source, other than our Heavenly Father, we are seen a practicing “spiritual adultery.” James uses this picture, as he continued his instruction, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God?” James 4:4. This man was not teaching “isolationism,” but spiritual carefulness in everyday living.

Our immediate environment will have an influence on our thinking, which often translates into action. “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy (longing for)?” James 4:5. We cannot always control our environment. However, we can control our personal response. We do not live our daily lives apart from divine help. James wrote, “But he [God] giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth (Note: a military term noting ‘to battle’) the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” James 4:6.

The believers of old were instructed, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” James 4:7a. The word, “submit,” is a military term meaning “to rank under.” This directive has not been amended nor deleted. This instruction is followed by declarations of assurance. (1) “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (2) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7b, 8a .

The next instruction is written to those whose sins have already been washed away. Personal responsibility for our continued cleansing is to be taken seriously, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” James 4:8b. Jesus told the disciples how this fact is accomplished. John 15:3.

Each person is responsible for facing the problems of life. However, these issues need not overwhelm us. God has an answer to all of the difficulties that we face. “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” James 4:9. We face the “trials of life” with an upward outlook. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10.

A popular false teaching in our day would have us to think that the life of the follower of Jesus Christ is without problems, “if you have proper faith.” This error has caused many sincere believers to “give up” in their Christian walk, since they are never able to “reach that magic level of faith.”

When we submit to the divine plan for our daily lives, we recognize the “hand of God,” as he guides us through difficulties.

We need to face each day with the assurance that we submit to the will of God (see Matthew 6:10) , and he “will never leave us not forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5).

Rev. James C. Temples can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_james@yahoo.com

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