Let’s visit the Episcopal lectionary for our Epistle for January 3, 2015:
James: 4. 1. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2. Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Here we find condemnations for a church in disarray due to jealousy and envy causing discord. How often do we see groups or even families torn apart because of anger arising out of envy. How often does false pride become the rationale that justifies one’s sin of envy, our pride preventing us from seeing that it is our lust for a brother or sister’s property or position? Verse 8 tells us that when we get close to God, he in turn gets closer to us; of course the reverse is true in that when we venture from his truth and light, he becomes distant from us. It is important to note however that he remains stationary as we choose to depart from him. Is God drawing closer to you?
Reread this chapter and perhaps even take a moment to read Matthew Henry’s commentary at, http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=59&c=4
Say this prayer or one of your own,
Grant, O Lord, that I may now love Thee as once I loved sin itself, and that I may labor for Thee without laziness as once I labored for Satan the deceiver. Even more I will labor for Thee, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen
Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Name of the Three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.