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Greed and lust lead to violence. Just read today’s news headlines to see that is true. We don’t have something, and we are willing to kill to get it. I am spoiled and I want my own way.

There is good news. God, through his amazing son Jesus, has redeemed us from that way of life. Jesus, the Messiah, has reconciled us to his Father. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can give up control and do what God wants. Today we can obey God and live the way he wants us to.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace.

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore 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. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Master, and he will exalt you. [1]

James 4:1-10

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There is much to unpack in these verses. James nails the issues but lands on humility.

Here is some additional information on humility to supplement this teaching. Please subscribe to the channel if you like the content.

When I come to the Messiah as someone who misses God’s goal (aka sinner), I must come in humility. I acknowledge that I am a pauper and beggar who comes with nothing to offer Him but my heart and my need for salvation. I recognize my lack of merit and our complete inability to save myself.

Jesus offers the grace and mercy of God. We accept it in humble gratitude and commit our lives to Him and to others. We “die to self” so that we can live as new creations in the Messiah. We never forget that He has exchanged our worthlessness for His infinite worth, our sin for His righteousness, and the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. Now that is some very good news.

That Jesus died for us is true humility. I must humble myself. I must cry out to Jesus to have mercy on me a sinner. I must remember who I am and where I came from. There is no such thing as servant leadership in the country where Jesus is King. Jesus is the leader. Jesus is the King. I am not.

Jesus challenges us to be servants and slaves. Our job is to love and serve. That is it. There is nothing else.

  • Mark 9:33–37 —They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
  • Matthew 23:8–12 — “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, the Messiah. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
  • Mark 10:42–45 —Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles Master it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
  • Luke 14:7–11 —And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. “But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
  • Luke 18:9–14 —And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jas 4:1–10.