Posted on January 2, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:3 (NLT)
Well, now that the wrapping paper has been all gathered up and the holiday feast has become mere crumbs there is only one thing left to do!! Make those resolutions for a new start for a new year. Just as a side giggle here, I recently saw something posted on social media that stated, “I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! As for me, I can’t wait for it to be over. Bring on the New Year and tax refunds!! LOL!!” I guess some of us have our preferences? Anyway…
As for me, the years actually kinda blend from one into another. The only actual “resolution” I make to change my behavior is making sure I use the proper date on any paperwork I do. I should be straightened out by February. But there are many of us out there who purpose it in our minds that a new year demands that change in our lives take place. Although that is a good position to take, sometimes change demands a little bit more than a change of calendar date to take place first. Sometimes it requires that you examine the motives behind them first.
The fourth chapter in the Book of James sparks that kinda examination. It starts with a very simple question, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?” (James 4:1a) What follows is an answer designed to point to the source, “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?’ (James 4:1b) Now if you just focus on the words, evil desires” you may kinda sense a Charles Manson or Stalin/Hitler overtone to them but that might be wrong the assessment. One thing that has become really popular to argue about, at least in the social media circles, is those moral, theological, and political positions we all have taken. Even those who are silent on those subjects have stood accused of the sin of omission.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” (James 4:2)
Now if you’re looking at this from a “got stuff” position, you may wanna think that through a little bit. We have folks out there, with stuff, that are content within themselves but still view the world through a different set of lenses than we do. So, with absolutely no gentleness or grace, we shred their viewpoint by beating them over the head with ours until we’ve caused their resentments to build and then we dare to go, “AH, HA!! HERESY!!”
And finally, I fast forward to this question, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?” (James 4:14a) It’s right here where human endeavor gets called out. Because the truth is, “Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14b) This is the body blow to our self-confidence and that’s what really has to change. Our adversary knows that, and to our cores, we really don’t wanna be humble, so our help to change has to come from the Holy Spirit, this is what Jesus wants us all to take to heart.
Within James, chapter four, are all kinds of motive checkers and the one that stands out to me is, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.” (James 4:10) This says that my resolve for change has gotta come from the position of humility and not one where I receive some worldly benefit. I’ve done that in the past and God has simply gone, “request denied” and now that I can look back at those times, my motives were to live the way I wanted without the consequence that came with it. Losing weight is not a bad thing to resolve to but if the motive behind it agrees with the world around you then you need to check out James 4:4.
Sometimes asking for humility is like asking for patience, you’ll get stretched but both are necessary for us to make it in this Christian walk. Unfortunately, I must confess that I am terrible at both of these practices, however, I still boldly go before the Throne of Grace and ask for the right Spirit to do such things. I haven’t heard “Request Denied” yet. I hope you don’t either. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “For human beings, the whole possibility of redemption lies in their ability to change. To move across from one sort of person to another is the essence of repentance; the liar becomes truthful, the thief honest, the lewd pure, the proud humble. The whole moral texture of the life is altered. The thoughts, the desires, the affections are transformed, and the man is no longer what he had been before.” — A.W. Tozer
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.