John T. Willis

Monday, June 20, 2011

Timeless Divine Assurances

Of course, originally ALL oral and written words which now appear in the Bible were declared to some audience to address issues and problems which that audience was encountering. Many Biblical texts apply to a time [date], an event or occasion, a person or persons, a historical or social or religious concern, and the like. But even when all this is true, there are numerous "timeless divine truths or assurances" which may be relevant to every parallel situation. One of many texts which fits this scenario is James 4:6b-10. Consider these great religious teachings and assurances. ALL of these teachings are "counter-cultural" or in opposition to "common sense":

1. "God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble." 4:6b.
Proud or arrogant people dismiss, oppress, harm other people. They treat other people as "second-class" Christians. They assume they are better than other people. Godly people respond in respect and honor and love when the arrogant mistreat them. God assures such people that he will eventually humble the proud and exalt the humble.

2. "Submit yourselves therefore to God." 4:7a.
Let's face it--We all WANT to be in control. God declares that HE is in control and therefore he desires that ALL OF US submit ourselves to God. We may assume this will hurt or shame or degrade us. But God says the best way to live to submit ourselves to God.

3. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 4:7b.
The Bible openly declares that the devil is very powerful. In fact, the devil is actually much more powerful than human beings. But, through God's grace and power in Jesus Christ, when the devil attacks us, if we will RESIST the devil, God will make sure that the devil will flee from us.

4. "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." 4:8a.
Careful study and meditation of the word of God, prayer, association with fellow-Christians and many other resources help us "draw near" to God. When we do this, God will draw near to us and strengthen and protect us.

5. "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
4:8b. Every aspect of human life has to do with the heart and the hand. It is a major mistake to go anywhere for help other than to the heart. Out of the heart come words and actions. Hence, by the blood of Jesus, we constantly need to turn to God through Jesus Christ to "cleanse" and "purify" our hearts and lives.

6. "Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejections." 4:9.
Many people assume and declare that crying, weeping, mourning shows weakness, fear, lack of courage, lack of faith, and the like. But, according to God's word, weeping and mourning are very healthy, powerful, important activities in life. In times of death, divorce, losses, failures, and disappointments, the godly reaction is weeping and crying and mourning.

7. "Humble yourselves before he Lord, and he will exalt you." 4:10.
4:6b and 4:10 are an "inclusio." Humility is the first letter in the Christian alphabet. God is all powerful. He is our creator and sustainer. He is our rock, our refuge, our deliverer, our salvation. Thus, the ONLY natural response to God's existence and presence and activity is humility.

Ponder over these "timeless divine assurances." Deep faith in God sustains us in all times of trouble and peace.

Share YOUR dreams and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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