James 4: 1-12
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?
2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Watching Carley Ann and Anna Claire learn the ways of life is going to be fun, but I'm sure a bumpy ride too. We all go through stages in our lives where we fight for this or that all the while thinking more about ourselves than anything else. Mothers are a little different because of our natural love to protect and nurture our children, but still even as mothers we sometimes struggle with the other areas of our lives.
There was a time in my life I would pray and pray for five minutes in the bathroom by myself without little hands tapping on the door or calling for Mommy. I also remember all the times that I did what Tom, my husband, wanted us to do but actually, in my heart, resented it. Sometimes our life mistakes are just mistakes and we can correct ourselves, but other times one small mistake becomes a stepping stone for bigger and bigger mistakes and before we know it, that mistake becomes our way of life.
James once again charges us to examine what our true motives are with the actions we take. Most of the time when we check our motives, we find out that we have left God out of the equation. We, as Christians, know that once we do that, none of our earthly problems can be solved. As long as we keep Christ at the center of who we are we will be humble before the Lord and He will lift us up.
I have to confess that verse nine troubled me a bit, because I don't think God wants us to be gloomy. But then I realized I was looking at the verse out of context. This entire chapter is a portrait of repentance. We know that repentance is an act of humble submission to God which includes our choice to resist the devil and to draw near to God. Repentance is also a commitment to moral purity both externally and internally, and a genuine remorse for our sins, so James is charging us to be really, really, serious about our actions and not just brush our misdeeds off with laughter.
Keeping with my promise to show photographs of far away places on Friday's, I'd like to take you to another blog. I can't read Spanish, but I can use the on-line translators, so that helps a bit. The name and introduction to this blog says, "ANOTHER DAILY GLANCE ---Are occasions in which the word does not reach, but histories continue, stun to us, graze to us, illuminate to us, shake to us, approach to us, makes us include/understand, damage to us, cure to us, help us to grow. And where the word does not arrive, the gesture eclipsa, nourishes, prunes, mima and asi in each snapshot is lived, dreamed, denied, opened histories for whoever and can contemplate them." The on-line translation might not be totally right. This blog makes me want to learn Spanish. Enjoy.