Daily Devotional - 17 July 2020
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor” (James 4:7-10).
There is a lot of talk these days about people wanting to take God more seriously. The pandemic has put a spotlight on humanity’s inability to control and even understand everything there is in our natural world; as a result many have turned their eyes heavenward. That’s a great place to start...but it is just the start. Turning to God in times of desperation is often our practice as inhabitants of planet earth, but we need to go deeper...not just adding God to our list of possible solutions, but recognizing Him as our only source of reliable help.
If we are serious about not simply negotiating a deal with God to get us out of a jam, but intent on developing a relationship with Him as our guide and constant help through life, there are three things we must do according to James.
1) Humble yourself - We need to recognize our insignificance, insufficiency and inability in comparison with Almighty God. God has given us freewill and He chooses to work within those parameters. As long as we want to insist on our way, God will not interfere..and you will miss out on His help. Set aside your pride and insistence on taking charge and God has promised to “lift you up in honour.”
2) Repent - No one is perfect and we all make mistakes; however, some of us resist acknowledging our mistakes and imperfections. We’re ‘sorry’ when we get caught, when someone is displeased with us; but in truth, if we thought we could do it again without witnesses, we probably would. That’s not repentance. Repentance involves heartfelt sorrow for wrong doing, confession without excuses and a desire to change and not repeat our mistakes. That is the kind of attitude that reflects the heart of God’s desire for humanity.
3) Be loyal - James accuses us of having divided loyalties, “your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” We want God on our terms. We don’t want to totally sellout for this ‘God-thing.’ We think that by making promises or adding church attendance or doing a good deed, we can negotiate better terms with God without having to give up any of the other ‘fun’ stuff. Unfortunately for us, God knows and refuses to play that game. He may tolerate it for a while due to His immeasurable patience with us, but ultimately it does not buy us any favours with God. He expects those who claim the benefits of a relationship with Him to also be loyal. Should we expect any less? No!
In times like these and always, we need God. He is more than willing, but He does have some stipulations. If we’re serious about gaining His help we need to do so humbly, with a repentant heart and a determination to be loyal. Get these right and God has promised to come to our rescue!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!