God loves it when we pursue Him. We do that by drawing near to Him and as we draw near in prayer and the study of the Word, He will attend to us. It is in His presence that we learn to cleanse ourselves from thoughts that are not in accord with His will. He purifies our hearts and helps us be of single mind.
In chapter 1 James spends time writing about being of single mind. A person who is double-minded is one who can’t make up their mind concerning an issue. James says that person is like a ship tossed to and fro. In other words, they are very unstable.
We don’t like James 1:9 much. We don’t like to be afflicted, mourn, weep, and/or heavy in spirit. The thought here is to be in that state over sin and failures in our life. That brings about repentance. Repentance restores a proper relationship between us and God and in the process, God lifts our head, and we can go forward knowing that we have His forgiveness and blessing.
At first glance there is strong objection that arises in us… or at least self-righteous defense. We don’t “war and kill” just to get our way… or do we? Our fleshly, carnal nature seems to ever be at odds with our spiritual nature. But isn’t that what the scripture tells us will happen? Galatians 5:17
I like to illustrate this verse by drawing two horses, each heading in the opposite direction, with a wagon hitched between them. Both are trying to pull the wagon. The horses are named “Flesh” and “Spirit.” The wagon is you. Which one of these “horses” will be the strongest? Obviously the one that “you” feed the most.
Don’t we struggle with wrong emotions, attitudes, thoughts, and deeds? Do we not “lust” (maybe for anything) or desire to have our own way? And when we don’t get it, we start an argument to prove that our way is best, even with God. We justify our desires and build a rather good case… or so we think. What we want is usually something that has no eternal significance at all. It would just be nice… or so we think… to enjoy that pleasure for a while.
James says that even though we “ask” in prayer we do so with a wrong motive and therefore we don’t receive what we have asked for.
This kind of attitude is adulterous in nature as far as God is concerned. Adultery in this sense does not have “sexual” connotations. It has to do with the entertainment of thoughts, actions, and attitudes that are contrary to God’s way. This type of attitude is against the spiritual side of us, and God sees it as unfaithfulness.
The Holy Spirit desires to have us seek God’s will continually. That does not mean that we cannot have any other activity than to stay on our knees. It does mean that we are conscious of his presence at all times in whatever we do, say, or wherever we go.
When we resist God’s will and/or His presence we are being arrogant and prideful. God resists us at that point but gives grace (unmerited favor) when we humble ourselves before Him. Submission is a very important virtue as far as God is concerned. One thing to remember always, submission is voluntary. Domination takes the place of submission IF the one desiring our attention (for whatever purpose) brings force to bear upon us. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He never forces us against our will. He will convict, warn, and call us, but He will not force Himself upon us.
The Scripture is Clear
The scripture is clear. We were made in the image of God, and we are to respect that fact in our dealings with one another. There is no division in God… between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are ONE. That is hard for us to understand but it is borne out repeatedly in scripture. Many arguments and divisions have come over that doctrine. Why can we just not accept the fact that God says they are One and be content to know that God has chosen to manifest Himself in three ways. Now… back to my point…
Genesis 1:27–28 After the fall of man, God set about to work His plan in mankind to bring them to Himself as redeemed individuals. Even though man fell, he still bears the imprint of God. God predestinated us TO BE conformed to the image of His son. Romans 8:29 -30
Paul reminds us that as we look into the face of our Lord Jesus we are changed, and we do that in prayer and study of the scripture. As we meditate on His word He communicates with our spirit, and we are thereby changed. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Colossians 3:9-11
Image of God
Because we are formed in God’s image and because he is “making us to conform” to His image we are to respect each other in the state of development that we are in. That is hard sometimes because some of us are farther along than others. We need to understand that age has no bearing here. I’ve known “old” Christians who were still childish because they had not allowed the Spirit of God to change them so, they still behave in childish ways. They have never matured in Christ. And then again it is delightful as you see “new” Christians making huge progress in their walk with the Lord. It all has to do with “seeking Him.”
It almost seems as though James switches gears here but not really. He is trying to show his readers that they need to consider how unstable life is and that they really have no control over life. Therefore, they need to say, “If the Lord wills.” We are here on this earth for only a short time. It does no good to boast and brag about what we have or are doing. We can never be sure that our life will not be cut short.
Because of the instability of life, we need to humble ourselves before God and remember that He is in charge of this universe. We are not.
Willetta was an author of Christian Article Bank (no longer active). This is one of her articles. Before she passed away, she was a teacher and a minister of the gospel.