Sunday, October 24, 2021


About Me

Minimize
The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

Devotions and more

Minimize
  
  
 "It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God.’" Matt. 4: 4

Please help / Help asb.

Minimize
For more than 10 years I financed
this Pastoral Ministry myself.
But now I need your 
urgent financial support
to continue, boost and expand this work.

Please EFT your contribution to: 

Standard Bank, Savings Account,
Centurion, South Africa.
Account number: 015373126
Account holder: Combrink AJ
Use Ref. – ‘Surname’ Sup.   

Any help - small or large -
will make a diiference!

DAILY views between 600 and 2000.

Search

Minimize

Latest Entries

Minimize
Oct 4

Written by: Andries
Sunday, October 04, 2015 3:13:50 AM  RssIcon

We live in a world full of conflict. I don’t think anyone would deny that fact.

James asks an important question. What causes fights and quarrels among you? It is certainly a relevant question. It is as relevant today as it was when James wrote his letter.   There is an attack om marriages!  On family relationships!  Amongst friends and comrades!  There even are a variety of conflicts within churches!    Conflict may be one of the biggest causes of emotional distress:   Fear, feelings of inferiority, loneliness, lack of purpose and grateful, joyful living!   Conflicts of various kinds may be one of the main causes of depression and burn-out!

We need to be lifted up!  The dark place call depression and sadness could feel like being stuck in a dark deep hole -  one from where we cannot raise ourselves.    James says all these things happen, because we are fight the wrong fights.  There is a wrong fight   and a righteous and just battle! Let’s see how we can assure that we fight the right fight and be lifted up by God to the place where his children belong and should live.

The Wrong Fight

As Christians, we are aware that we are engaged in a very real warfare.

Against ourselves.  Our weakness. Our nature. Our lack of finding joy in what is good. Against temptation and sin.

Also against the temptations, the values and ways of the world, of society!

And do not underestimate the fight against spiritual evil that lurks around every corner. The evil one will use any strategy necessary in order to win. One such strategy he often uses is to incite the children of God to battle with one another, thus diverting their attention from the real enemy.

It’s hard to win the war abroad when there is civil war at home. When we find ourselves constantly fighting with other people it is a red flag that indicates something has gone  wrong.

Conflict among Christians is not uncommon. James was addressing it in his day. He tells us why it happens. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James is telling us that our desires lead to conflict with others. The source of conflict lies within us. Our desires are the problem. They put us at odds with one another. Why is this the case?do we do these things? We do them because of the selfish and prideful desires in our own hearts.

Our desires lead to conflict with others and our motives lead to frustration with life. What are these motives? They’re selfish in nature. In verses 2 and 3, James says: You want something but don’t get it. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, because our motives are self-indulgent in nature.

There is a certain self-sufficiency about our efforts. We don’t want to depend on God. We don’t want to ask him for what we need. And when we finally do ask him, we don’t receive what we want because our motives are so selfish. We want what we want simply for our own pleasures. So we become frustrated with life. We become angry.  We become deeply depressed and this leads to emotional burn-out!

Finally, our lifestyles lead to hostility with God.   In fact, we have chosen friendship with the world over friendship with God. Look at verse 4: Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Friendship with the world means having misplaced priorities.

Our first priority should be following God. Our lifestyle, or the way we live our lives, is simply a reflection of our priorities. Priorities are those things that are important to us. If God is important to us, we will live for him. If material things are important to us, we will seek to get all of them we can. We will live for what the world can offer us.

If your life revolves around your own selfish desires, your own desire to possess, your own self image, your own needs, and your own prideful self-sufficiency, you will always be fighting the wrong fight. Your life will be one of conflict. Life will be frustrating and a struggle. You will be at odds with people and with God. Don’t fight this fight. Don’t fight the wrong fight.

The Right Fight

What is the right fight? The real battle is with our own selfish desires and sinful pride. James himself is quoting from the Scriptures (Proverbs 3:34) when he says in verse 6, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Pride and selfishness go hand in hand. Where you find pride you will also find selfishness.

Our real need is for humility. James tells us in verse 10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  We can choose to go on in selfish pride or we can choose to humble ourselves. The way of humility leads to receiving the blessing of God. Why don’t more people walk that way?

So, how can we express this humility? How can we fight the real fight against our own selfish desires and sinful pride? James gives us four things we must do.

1.  We must accept God’s will. In verse 7 James tells us: Submit yourselves, then, to God. When we submit to God we are acknowledging that his way is right. But submitting to God is more than that. It is giving him control of your life. To do that you must yield to him. Quit trying to run your own life. Put God in charge of your life by obeying him.

One of the reasons why we have so much conflict is because we have not settled our own relationship with God. We have not really decided to submit to him in practical ways. Make no mistake about this — you can’t follow Jesus without obeying him! Jesus is not the Lord of your life if you do not do what he says.   There is no real peace if you do not submit to God. The Spirit of God will bring conviction to your heart and you will never enjoy the peace of God until you surrender to him. So accept God’s will. Submit to God.

2.  We must reject God’s enemy. James not only tells us to submit to God but he also tells us: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. How do you do this? How do you resist the devil?

You do it by resisting his philosophy of life. You do it by resisting what he wants you to do. You do it by resisting living by his standards. Be smart. Be on your guard. The devil is trying to trip you up. He is trying to destroy you. He is not trying to help you. He wants to hurt you.  Remember Joseph!

Evil shows up when you are tempted to substitute other things for God. He shows up when you are tempted to stay home from church. He shows up when you are tempted not to come to the prayer gathering. He shows up when you are tempted not to read your Bible. He shows up when you are tempted not to tithe. He shows up when you are tempted to substitute activities for worship, television for prayer, giving to yourself for giving to God — doing something good for doing what is the best. When he shows up like this — resist him! Don’t give in. If you won’t give in, he will flee from you.

3.  You must also pursue God’s presence. In verse 8 James says, Come near to God and he will come near to you. In other words, you must be proactive. It is not enough to accept God’s will and reject God’s enemy. You must actively pursue a living relationship with the living Lord.

Have you become too busy to work on your relationship with God? No one can do anything about it except you. What you spend your time doing is what you are investing your life in. We need to invest in eternity because that’s where we are going to spend a very long time.

4.  There is still one other issue James addresses in this passage of Scripture. We must accept God’s will, reject God’s enemy, pursue God’s presence, and then we must receive God’s forgiveness.

Look at verses 8-10: Wash your hands and purify your heart, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Here James gives us the key to receiving God’s forgiveness.

This is where humility comes in. It is humbling to ask God for forgiveness. It is humbling to ask anyone for forgiveness.

But we need to do it. We need to do it because it is the right thing to do and we need to do it because we need forgiveness. Just think of how much conflict, sadness and dark places could be avoided if we were to say, "I was wrong, please forgive me."

And then God lifts us up!  He brings us into the light of his peace and joy! 

Tags:
Categories:

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Title:
Comment:
Security Code
CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 

List of more recent Posts

Minimize
The Great Commission: We are God’s ambassadors!
Celebrate Jesus, our King, Lord and Redeemer.
Jesus, Redeemer of the bruised!
The powerful Gospel stored in jars of clay.
True Freedom – to be free as a Child of God.
August is women’s month.
We clearly cannot remain silent.
Our battles belong to the Lord.
Repent!
Receive a new life through the living Word.
Always reflect when you engage with God.
Remember the power of prayer
The importance of Pentecost.
All filled and everyone called: Pentecost
Ascension Day – 13 May 2021
Thank only God under all circumstances
What if Jesus was really raised from the tomb?

Collection of Posts per Month

Minimize
Archive
<October 2021>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
262728293012
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31123456
Monthly
October, 2021 (3)
September, 2021 (4)
August, 2021 (4)
July, 2021 (5)
June, 2021 (5)
May, 2021 (5)
April, 2021 (4)
March, 2021 (7)
February, 2021 (3)
January, 2021 (3)
December, 2020 (4)
November, 2020 (5)
October, 2020 (4)
September, 2020 (4)
August, 2020 (3)
July, 2020 (3)
June, 2020 (1)
May, 2020 (5)
April, 2020 (5)
March, 2020 (5)
February, 2020 (4)
January, 2020 (4)
December, 2019 (4)
November, 2019 (3)
October, 2019 (5)
September, 2019 (4)
August, 2019 (3)
July, 2019 (2)
June, 2019 (2)
May, 2019 (5)
April, 2019 (1)
March, 2019 (2)
February, 2019 (4)
January, 2019 (2)
December, 2018 (2)
October, 2018 (2)
September, 2018 (3)
August, 2018 (3)
July, 2018 (4)
June, 2018 (5)
May, 2018 (3)
April, 2018 (4)
February, 2018 (2)
January, 2018 (3)
December, 2017 (2)
November, 2017 (2)
October, 2017 (1)
September, 2017 (2)
August, 2017 (4)
July, 2017 (4)
June, 2017 (3)
May, 2017 (2)
April, 2017 (2)
March, 2017 (2)
February, 2017 (4)
January, 2017 (1)
December, 2016 (1)
November, 2016 (2)
October, 2016 (2)
September, 2016 (2)
August, 2016 (3)
July, 2016 (3)
June, 2016 (1)
May, 2016 (1)
April, 2016 (2)
February, 2016 (1)
January, 2016 (3)
December, 2015 (2)
November, 2015 (3)
October, 2015 (1)
September, 2015 (1)
August, 2015 (4)
July, 2015 (2)
June, 2015 (2)
May, 2015 (2)
April, 2015 (1)
March, 2015 (3)
February, 2015 (2)
January, 2015 (4)
December, 2014 (1)
November, 2014 (2)
October, 2014 (2)
August, 2014 (4)
July, 2014 (1)
June, 2014 (5)
May, 2014 (6)
April, 2014 (3)
March, 2014 (2)
February, 2014 (5)
January, 2014 (2)
December, 2013 (6)
November, 2013 (4)
October, 2013 (3)
August, 2013 (6)
July, 2013 (9)
June, 2013 (3)
April, 2013 (1)
March, 2013 (5)
February, 2013 (5)
January, 2013 (4)
Pastoral Copyright 2010 - Hosted and Created by DWS