Summary: How can we live up to these commands of the book of James? The answer is surely not our own power or ability. Only God and his grace can enable us to live this life.
"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:6-7)
Adrian Rodgers, the well-known pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, tells the story of a young man who came up to him one Sunday morning after the message. “Man,” the young man remarked, “this Christian life is really hard!” Dr. Rodgers wisely replied, “No, son. It’s not hard, it’s impossible.” Of course what he meant was that the Christian life is impossible for us in our power.
In James, chapters one through four, we are given some seemingly impossible commands to follow:
▪ Have faith without doubting
▪ Never show partiality to anyone
▪ Avoid using of our words for harm
▪ Approach God with purity of heart
How can we live up to these commands of the book of James? The answer is surely not our own power or ability. Only God and his grace can enable us to live this life.
I. A Foundational Principle (v.6)
A. God Stands Against the Proud
Verse six bluntly states a principle: God stands against the proud. Scripture repeatedly warns us to watch out for pride. God, “…will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.” (Psalm 18:27). “By pride comes nothing but strife …” (Proverbs 13:10). We are warned not to think better of ourselves but instead to see ourselves as God does (Romans 12:3).
While this is a foundational principle most of us have trouble admitting we are proud. The lion was proud of his mastery of the animal kingdom. One day he decided to make sure all the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he by-passed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear. "Who is the king of the jungle?" the lion asked. The bear replied, "Why you are, of course" The lion gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The tiger quickly responded, "Everyone knows that you are, mighty lion " Next on the list was the elephant. The lion faced the elephant and addressed his question, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk, whirled him around in the air five or six times and slammed him into a tree. Then he pounded him onto the ground several times, dunked him under water in a nearby lake, and finally dumped him out on the shore. The lion--beaten, bruised, and battered--struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant through sad and bloody eyes and said, "Look, just because you don’t know the answer is no reason for you to get mean about it!"
Even though we have trouble admitting our pride we had better because God resists the proud. The word for resist is a military term meaning to range in battle against. A literal translation is, “God sets up the battle lines against those who choose to do things their way …”
B. God Stands With the Humble
While God stands against the proud, He stands with the humble. He gives grace to the humble. A theological definition of grace is unmerited favor but practically, grace is what God does in us that we could not do ourselves. We are always in the need of God’s grace. Why do we need God’s grace every day?
▪ Because we cannot do God’s work without His grace. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28). .
▪ Because we cannot stand firm in the faith without His grace. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:8-9).
▪ Because We cannot even worship properly without His grace. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
In all these areas of life God gives more grace. He gives a grace that truly is grace. It is greater than anything known to man.
His love has no limit - His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto man,