The Cause And Cure Of Haughtiness

Bible Book: Selected Passages  4 : 4
Subject: Pride; Humility; Arrogance, Danger; Pride, Cure for

James 4:4, "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."

These passages are dealing with the world system; the evil principles of the world, a system which is in opposition to God. Richard Wolff in "General Epistles of James and Jude" gave this description: "The world is human nature sacrificing the spiritual to the material, the future to the present, the unseen and the eternal to that which touches  the senses and perishes with time. The world is a mighty flood of thoughts, feelings, principles of action, conventional prejudices, dislikes, attachments, which have been gathering around human life for ages, impregnating it, impelling it, molding it, degrading it. "It is not too strong to say that  friendship with the world is enmity with God.

The line is drawn that straight in other places in the New Testament as well. Luke 16:13, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." "Mammon" - refers to riches, treasure, or wealth. In 2 Timothy 4:10, "For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. "Note the progression in this mindset. James 4:5, "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain,  "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?" James is simply saying that the whole tenor of Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit who lives within the believer jealously desires to completely possess that believer and control his life. Exodus 34:14, "for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. "American Standard Version says, "The Spirit He made to dwell in us earnestly desires with jealousy for you." "Do you think that the Scriptures say in vain. "Does the Scripture speak to no purpose? This was a general truth of the Bible. "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?" -KJV = "lusteth to envy" - earnestly desires with jealousy for you. "lusteth" - to long for; yearns over, long after greatly. Used in a good sense expressing the greatest possible desire. It implies to longing affection of a lover. It is used here of God the Spirit's holy jealousy for our total loyalty. God is unwilling to share our affection with the world. No divided loyalties. The Example of Paul for the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 11:2, "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. "This speaks of his deep concern for them to the point of jealousy, not for his own reputation, but zeal for their spiritual purity. "Godly jealousy" - jealousy inspired by zeal for God's causes; similar to God's own jealousy for His holy name and His people's loyalty. Put verses 4 & 5 together, along with the other support passages, and you have:

I. The Cause For Haughtiness In The Church 4-5

Isaiah 54:5, "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. "In the Old Testament, the metaphor  of marriage depicts Jehovah as Israel's husband. In the New Testament, the metaphor of marriage depicts the Church as Christ's bride. These relationships call for faithfulness and devotion.

II. The Cure For Haughtiness In The Church 6-10

The answer always involves grace and the Bible teaches that God's grace is available for our deepest needs. When the pressure is on, when the problems seem overwhelming, when the resources are low, when health wavers, when family dreams are shattered, when the spiritual flame is but a flicker, "God gives more grace. "Annie Flint gave us this great hymn:

"He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater; He sendeth more grace when the labors increase;

To added afflictions He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, When our strength has failed ere the day is half done; When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, Our Father's full giving is only begun."

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,His power has no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again."

"However, if we are to be the recipients of God's grace, pride will have to die. Homer Kent wrote: "Those who proudly turn from God and choose to be friends of the world must face God's opposition. The world with its more immediate rewards ministers to their pride, and its wisdom can foster  human egos and often advance their ambitions. God, however, ministers His grace to the humble. Those who are willing to acknowledge their need, repudiate selfish ambition, and let God's wisdom guide them will find that God's provision of grace for each day will be their greatest resource.

"Through the grace of God those first century believers would be able to withstand the gravitational pull of the world system. James uses a series of imperatives to communicate 8 key principles of God's grace for our lives:

A. Relinquish Control Of Your Life 7

"therefore submit to God" - take rank under, to place under orders. It is a choice that one makes to come under the authority of God. Unconditional surrender is the only way to complete victory. We  must cease fighting and begin surrendering. This is the ultimate challenge for the proud person.

Herbert Stephenson defines this submission to Christ as "a surrender of the right to run our own life, to think and say and do as we please; and a continuing dependence and obedience. It is a

recognition that only God can deal with this rebellious tyrant self, and a readiness for Him to do so. It means acknowledging Him in all our ways, that He might direct our paths."

B. Resist The Devil 7

"resist the devil and he will flee from you. "We must implement the armor of God and we must saturate ourselves with God's Word. (Eph. 6:10-18)(Matt. 4:4) Promised Victory.

C. Restore Worship To A Priority 8

"draw near to God and He will draw near to you. "We submit as servants and we draw near as worshipers. The verb "draw near" is the way the Old Testament describes the levitical priests approaching God with their sacrifices. Example: David, Ps. 51 He desired restoration of joy and service. Psalms 51:16-17, "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise. "In verse 19, "Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness. "v.16 reminds us that ritual without genuine repentance is useless. How then?

D. Renounce Sinful Actions 8

"Cleanse your hands, you sinners." The priest had to wash his hand before he could approach the holy place of Almighty God. Psalms 24:3-4, "Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,nor sworn deceitfully". These qualities do not signify sinless perfection, but rather basic integrity of inward motive and outward manner.

In the liturgy (worship), the questions were most likely asked by the priest. The worshiper would then have responded antiphonally with the answers.

As we continue to experience God's grace in our lives, we will not be able to hold on to those actions which we know are a violation of His holy standards and righteousness.

Special Note: James somewhat startles his readers by call them "sinners." It does not mean they were unsaved, but sinners.We can only draw close to Him as we see ourselves as we are. When Jesus comes into our presence, eternal holiness has a way of keenly manifesting our sins. The brighter the light, the better the vision.

E. Reject Sinful Attitudes 8

"Purify your hearts, you double-minded"a call to inward purity. Purity in the inward life. "Double- minded" - fickleness and vacillation. It fits the person who loves God and the world. It is this attitude that will keep the grace of God from flowing in the life of the Christian. James 1:8, "he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways."

F. React To Sin With Sorrow 9

"lament and mourn and weep" - James, like one of the Old Testament prophets, calls for repentance by having them grieve over their sins. Brokenness! Paul's Experience: Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" In frustration and grief, Paul laments his sin. A believer perceives his own sinfulness in direct proportion to how clearly he sees the holiness of God and perfection of His law. "afflicted" - is a word used to describe an army that has run out of food, that has no place for shelter. It also pictures one who has more weight than he can carry. "mourn" - sincere grief; knowing what sin does to a holy God should bring grief to our souls. "weep" - James rebukes the flippant attitude with which some people approach spiritual things. Speaks of a godly sorrow that accompanies repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:10, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. "Unbelievers repent of their sin initially when they are saved, and then as believers, repent of their sins continually to keep joy and blessings of their relationship to God.

Note: He is not refusing them joy, but calling for a change of life that will lead to joy. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, the last part of the verse: Human sorrow is unsanctified remorse and has no redemptive capability. It is nothing more than the wounded pride of getting caught in a sin and having one's lust go unfulfilled. That kind of sorrow leads only to guilt, shame, despair, depression, self-pity, and hopelessness.

G. Refrain From A Frivolous Attitude Toward Evil 9

"Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." James is not saying that a Christian should dress in black clothing and walk around with a somber face, and preach gloom and doom. A Christian ought to be happy in the Lord, thankful for the gift of salvation, and obedient in doing the will of God. When he has fallen into sin and responds to God's call for repentance, a change must occur in his life. Laughter and joy are silenced. When he realizes what he has done, he cannot but be saddened. Psalm 51, "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation" The summation of all this teaching is simply that we need to quit playing games with the devil and with sin and become serious about God and forsaking sin.

H. Respond Humbly To The Lord 10

God rewards true humility; those who take their low place before God in repentance and obedience will exalted. "in the sight of the Lord" - a person may submit outwardly but be full of pride inwardly, so humility must be genuine. James pictures one who has come to the end of himself. He confesses  his attitude and actions to God and finds then God extending His divine hand to lift him up. What a promise! The steps are clear. If we are to be humble, we must begin by emptying ourselves of self and sin by resisting the devil. Next, that emptiness must be filled by the Holy Spirit as we draw near to God and we allow Him to draw near to us and to fill us to overflowing with Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do so in our own strength. It is impossible for us to humble ourselves by our own cleverness or ingenuity. We need the power of God Himself. A person who is truly humble is a person who has turned from sin and the devil and is walking with God. Authentic humility comes from God. A humble person is one who has seen himself as he really is in the sight of God, has repented of his sin, and is following Jesus as his Lord. It is never God's desire to "put you down." It is sin thatleads us down to death and destruction. The Lord delights in lifting you up.