Friday, February 24, 2012

Digging Deeper (James 4:13 - 17)

Digging Deeper 22 James 4:13-17
 A deeper understanding of God, which develops from His Word, requires a closer walk. Drawing closer to God and Him drawing closer to us empowers and equips us to follow Christ. But the more holy we see God the more of His character we know, the more that is required. But the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. More often than not we use this passage is used to teach financial responsibility but the principle is much broader. God has called us to be stewards of every resource he provides including the knowledge that we receive from His Word. Now let’s dig a little deeper.
 James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit. The problem is not in the planning, scripture teaches us to plan “count the cost” the problem is in the assumption, “spend a year, make a profit” note verse 14 You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away. This is truly a humbling realization. We have no knowledge of tomorrow let alone any control. So how is it that we can make plans boasting what we will accomplish? We simply do not know what we can or cannot accomplish other than walking in the promise that we can accomplish God’s will which can be and often is different from our plans. Verse 15 Instead you ought to say “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” Acknowledging that “if the Lord wills” acknowledges that God is sovereign and puts us in a position of humility. It is in this position we recognize the will of God. Man often gets things turned around we lay plans to do this or that then we even spend a lot of time praying that God will bless our plans, provide for our plans, we even seek to gain God’s endorsement of our plan. Verse 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. The evil in living such an attitude is simple “we know better than God”!  Arrogance is the outpouring of pride and it is pride that will lead us to destruction, it is evil!
James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. Here is the point the more we understand the character of God revealed in His Word the more we know sin. Galatians 3:22 But the scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
So then how should we approach the concept, if I know more, than I am more accountable? That is not the concept, the concept is that the more we know what is pleasing to God the more we know sin and the more we know what is pleasing to God then closer we can follow Christ. The goal of a believer should never be what is the least I can get by with and still make to heaven. That is not the heart of someone that knows Jesus. The heart of a believer constantly struggles to know God, to walk with God, and to be pleasing to God, simply because He is worthy. Knowing that God is sovereign destroys our pride and stifles our arrogance and it eliminates our boasting and maybe most importantly opens our eyes to see His will for our lives.
Some of the questions this leaves us with: Are you the one who knows the right thing to do? What can we change in our lives to know what to do? What keeps us from doing it what we know is right?
James has given a stern reminder that to make boasts of what we are going to do or not is an exercise of arrogance and is evil!

What do we believe about God? 
1.   God is Sovereign
2.   God is God of yesterday, today and tomorrow

What do we believe about ourselves? 
1.   Arrogance is sin against God.
2.   We can know the right thing to do.
3.   When we make plans they should be simply to follow the steps of Christ.
Covenant Church 210 Station Rd, Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 395-5800

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