The moment we respond to the gospel we are born again (John 3:3), our spirit that used to be dead because of sin, comes alive (Ephesians 2:4,5), our old nature is dead and gone, replaced by a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). But we don’t wake up the next morning with a new mind. It still needs renewing; old habits of thinking that lead to sinful actions need to be killed off and new ones formed (Romans 12:2). Our flesh does what it is told!
James 4, then, challenges us over the desires our minds may still have –
- Coveting what others have leads to fighting and quarrelling.
- Not praying for what we need or, if we do, praying with wrong motives. James pointedly calls that adultery – we are married to Jesus and yet we can be adulterous with the world! Tough stuff!
He then nails pride. Pride stinks – It’s like B.O. – everyone can smell it except the one with it. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
In v.7 onwards we get the answer:
- Submit yourself to God – draw near to Him
- Resist the devil – you can say no!
- The devil will flee – he won’t hang around if you are looking to stay saturated with the presence of God.
Then finally James returns to our tongues – because what comes out of our mouths reflects what is in our hearts.
- Speak well of each other
- Stop boasting – our pride thinks we have everything planned, but is it God’s will?