I read about one article in a paper describing the murder of a 38 year-old man who was deaf and probably mute as well. It seems that a 14 year-old boy shot this man because he didn’t, understand he was being told to hand over his money – which was only enough change to pay for his bus ride home. Within hours of this tragic murder, an 80 year-old woman was abducted while making a quick trip to the store. A young man kidnapped the woman and later killed her, so that he could drive her car and purchase some gifts for his friends with her credit card.
The list of evils in James 4:1-6 reads a great deal like the front page of many daily newspapers and James seems to be saying that professing Christians, in his day, were behaving similarly. How could this be!?
In James chapter 1:13-17, the reader is told not to blame God for his sin, or for his temptation. He tells us that temptation comes from within and that good and perfect gifts come from above. So, now in James chapter 4, he is going to give us additional details on the source of our sins. But first, I want to say something about the basic need of every person before I talk more about that in the next blog.
Each one of us has a personal need to be regarded as a worthwhile human being and there is nothing sinful about that. Human beings desperately need to be loved and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, people generally choose to operate in one of two ways to meet those needs, and it’s to their detriment.
1. Sometimes we put our worst foot forward to test the sincerity of those who say they love us. 2. The more typical method is putting our best foot forward in order to gain acceptance. So often we try to be good in order to be accepted don’t we?
What do you think would happen if every Christ follower took hold of the liberating truth that we are now free to be good because God already accepts us through the Cross of Christ – that his sacrificial death credited us with total acceptability to Him? How great is that!?
Sad to say, this understanding didn’t grab hold of some of the Christians to whom James has written. Instead, many of them decided they would meet their basic needs to be regarded as worthwhile and accepted by ignoring that truth.
Worst foot – Best foot forward? God is not impressed with either one when they’re used to keep us from having a genuine relationship with Jesus. The Bible doesn’t pull any punches on that. But James won’t leave us hanging on this subject. Why? Because God is about hope through reconciliation and restoration and believe it or not, he is for us. Yet, there is no question we are being warned by James about the consequences of sinning.