Faith Confessions from the Book of James: “I will seek Humility”
by Pastor Kent Munsey
“What is the cause of your conflicts and quarrels with each other? Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfill your own desires? You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harm others to selfishly obtain what you crave—that’s why you quarrel and fight. And all the time you don’t obtain what you want because you won’t ask God for it! And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires. You have become spiritual adulterers who are having an affair, an unholy relationship with the world. Don’t you know that flirting with the world’s values places you at odds with God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy! Does the Scripture mean nothing to you that says, “The Spirit that God breathed into our hearts is a jealous Lover who intensely desires to have more and more of us”? But he continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out grace when you are humble.” So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting. Feel the pain of your sin, be sorrowful and weep! Let your joking around[h] be turned into mourning and your joy into deep humiliation. Be willing to be made low before the Lord and he will exalt you!”
— James 4 (The Passion Translation)
Our faith declaration today is that I will seek humility. James takes on the cause of conflict in all of our lives: pride. Conflict is a part of life. We are going to face conflict. We can’t run or hide from it, but we can determine how we face it. How you face conflict as a Christian is significant.
When it comes to conflict, you either have a prideful heart led by worldly desires, or a humble heart led by godly desires.
Pride will give you permission to believe that your feelings and emotions are leading you in the right direction with the right values. When you face conflict with pride, you will believe the enemy’s lies. The world wants you to believe that life is about winning and going after what you want and what you think you deserve.
Humility will remind you that God has given you a brand new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). When you face conflict as a Christian, you have some advantages: the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of you, and God’s grace is available to you in abundant measure.
Here is how we can approach conflict with humble hearts
Surrender to God. A humble heart is always submitted and surrendered to God. Pride wants to destroy relationships, while humility will cause you to submit to God. If we’re going to be humble, we have to live a life that is fully surrendered to him.
Stand up to the devil. Just because we’re submitted to God doesn’t mean that we’re not strong. To be humble is actually to be stronger because we are aligned with God, who is much more powerful than we are. We can stand up to the devil and say that God has already given us everything we need (2 Peter 1:3). The devil is at work in every conflict, but if we resist him, he will flee (James 4:7).
Start moving closer and closer to God. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8). When you move closer to God, you begin to see how God sees you. You begin to see the gifts talents and abilities that you have, you begin to see your unique calling and what God sees for your life. His vision for our future and identity will correct our perspective on any conflict we may face. When we humble ourselves before God, he will lift us up.
Conflict is going to ultimately reveal some things about you. It’s going to reveal where you place your trust. If you are going to make it through conflict, remember that God has given you grace. Humility is recognizing where our help comes from.
Think about some conflicts you’ve faced recently. Did you face them with a prideful heart or a humble heart?
Are there areas of your heart that you have not yet surrendered to God? What are they, and how are those parts of your heart leading your life?
Are there conflicts in your life where the devil has had a foothold, but you are ready to start resisting him? What steps can you take to start standing up to the devil in these areas?
What are some steps you can take this week to pursue a humble heart?