“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
The latter part of this verse is more than a catchy slogan for a bumper sticker, coffee mug, or t-shirt. James is quoting Proverbs 3:34, “He mocks proud mockers. He shows favor to the humble.” However, I want to focus on God’s generous grace in James 4:6a. This often-overlooked part is what we should champion and sloganize.
James is speaking to believers here and warning that worldliness makes us enemies with God. When we think of worldliness in our context, it’s not just the biggies like abortion, racial injustice, murder, rape, and everything else that is morally and ethically wrong. Worldliness is complaining. Worldliness is having a critical nature. Worldliness is gossip and slander. Worldliness is idolatry. Worldliness is apathy toward God. Worldliness is not giving God everything He deserves. Worldliness is putting ourselves and our desires at the center of our attention instead of God. That’s worldliness. That’s pride. And that puts us at enmity with God. We’re all guilty. We all have fallen into the sin of pride…BUT (the greatest 3-letter word in the English Bible)…BUT,
GOD GENEROUSLY GIVES GREAT GRACE. There’s a powerful 5-G network for ya.
If we don’t want to be in opposition with God (I strongly recommend and encourage you not to be), then we have to humble ourselves. James gives us in the following verses (7-10), five commands for living humbly for God.
- Submit to God.
- Resist the Devil (Resist the sin of Pride).
- Draw near to God.
- Repent with mourning over our sins.
- Let our joy be in the Lord. Celebrate Jesus!
James brings us back full circle. He starts by telling us to humble ourselves in verse 6 and book-ends here in verse 10 by telling us again to humble ourselves. And what is our reward? God will exalt us. When we put our effort into these 5 commands, with the understanding that it’s all through God’s generous and great grace, He promises to exalt us! What a promise! Amen!
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- In what ways do you need to humble yourself and repent from pridefulness?
- How can I help you draw near to God?
I would love to pray with you, encourage you, and help you find joy in Christ!
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?