“Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10)
Perhaps you’ve heard it said before that “some people have just enough Christianity to inoculate them against the real thing.” Unfortunately, this all too often accurately describes many of us in church: we claim to be “real” Christians, but then we pray, read our Bible, and attend worship only when we feel like it and whenever it’s convenient (and we may not regularly participate in a Christian small group at all); we put the “left overs” of our money in the offering plate when it’s passed, giving to God and His church only after we’ve paid all our other “bills”; we only rarely volunteer to serve in the nursery, or help the youth group, or serve in a local mission project; and we hardly ever share our faith with others outside the church, viewing our faith as a “private thing” meant to be kept to oneself.
Meanwhile, we struggle to keep our marriages and families emotionally alive and healthy, secretly wonder if there is any purpose and meaning to the “rat race” of life in which we seem caught up, and have difficulties coping with the stress and strain of all that we have to do… to the point where we sometimes cope by falling into unhealthy habits and addictions that we know we shouldn’t have, but can’t help ourselves.
If this sounds familiar, then we need to realize that the answer lies in the fact that we need to learn to get serious with God – to quick flirting around on the edge of life (hoping we don’t fall over the cliff), and instead throw ourselves into the grace and love of our God who loves us and wants us to experience a life filled with real meaning and purpose – a life that doesn’t just practice “religious behavior” and “spiritual talk,” but is deeply genuine and real.
To me, the words of James 4:4-10 from THE MESSAGE translation say it well. May these words from God’s word inspire, challenge, and bless you as they have me:
“You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that ‘he's a fiercely jealous lover.’ And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.’ So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.”
May it be so in each of our lives, dear Lord! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!