Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Broken & Redeemed – Paul: Misplaced Zeal and Pride

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Week Four – Day 4 – Thursday, March 30, 2017WK04D04

Read JAMES 4:6-10 SOAP James 4:6

  1. How does God oppose the proud? How does He give grace to those who are humble?

JAMES 4:6-10 6   But  he gives more grace. Therefore it says,  “God opposes the proud but  gives grace to the humble.”  7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  8  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  9  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

O – At first look, this passage started with a “BUT” and a “therefore.”    The ‘but’ looks like it refers back to the previous writing – friendship with the world, and envy.  God’s grace is able to overcome this….  God wants our “friendship” and love to be directed towards Him.  And the ”therefore” is “there for” the reinforcement that God will give us grace if we humble ourselves.  The Amplified Version gives some clarification on this:  “But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”  (James 4:6 – AMP)

Following this, there are a number of commands – commands that are in the Greek aorist imperative tense.  I went looking for an explanation of this…. And found lots of clarification.  The aorist tense is a tense that indicates that something is completed, done, decisive.  The imperative is a command – but one that implies urgency.  “Now – once and for all – at once” is the feeling of this imperative.

The explanation from Bob Utley for verse 7 on was interesting to me.  “Submit… to God. Resist the devil.”  {This is a military term which means “to align oneself under authority” Notice the twin aspects of submission (to God) and resistance (to evil). The first verbal form (aorist passive imperative) implies that believers must allow God to enable them to submit in a completed way to His will. ….. The second verbal form (aorist active imperative) implies that the believer must combine God’s work with active participation—resist the devil in a complete way!} (Bob Utley)  WOW!

So – after the Greek lesson, I looked at the commands…..

  • Submit to God – “surrender of the will that ends in obedience”
  • Resist the devil – don’t give in to his tricks and wiles
  • Draw near to God – go to His presence – relationship!
  • Cleanse your hands – symbolic of outward actions (like the priests washing their hands before entering the holy place)
  • Purify your hearts – symbolic of inward action (cleansing of our hearts – the inner man)
  • Be wretched, mourn, and weak – signifies repentence from sins
  • Humble yourself before the Lord – another reminder to submit – and allow God’s priorities and agenda be in charge


A – what is my take-away from today’s reading??

This is really a lesson on allowing God to rule in my life.  That simple illustration of a circle with a cross on the throne and the “S” – self – bowing in submission – comes to mind here.   Christ is in the “driver’s seat”, so to speak, and I am the passenger.  Not that it is passive, but the direction is set by the driver.  And – it takes humility and submission to allow God to rule – when He should be ruling anyway!


Some of the things that will help me regain perspective are: to submit to God – allow Him to rule.  Don’t give in to temptation.  Resist it – and by doing so, I am resisting the devil.   To draw near to God – to spend time in relationship with Him by reading His Word, spending time in His presence in prayer, and to meditate on what I am learning – and PUT it into practice!   To allow my actions (outer self) and my attitudes (inner self) be purified by God’s presence in my life.  To repent and turn from my sin, and to have a repentant spirit  To submit to God – allow Him control.


I am reminded of this – that my heart and mind have to be in tune with God’s presence throughout the day.  When I feel the Spirit’s prompting, I need to act on it.  To not push it down and ignore it, but act on it.   I can’t pray about something, and then ignore the prompting!  We’ve been praying for our neighbors, and God has given us opportunities within the past week to interact with three of them.  Two conversations stemmed from our Christmas cookie delivery in December!  So – as we were walking through the neighborhood tonight, we saw one of these neighbors mowing her lawn.  We stopped to talk – and they are coming to dinner tomorrow night.  They have been on our heart – and we acted on the Spirit’s prompting.  It is not “our” doing, but an answer to “open our eyes.  Open our ears.  Help us to see our neighbors, and be Christ to them.” And we will need grace tomorrow.  But, we have to stay in tune with the Spirit’s leading.


Father God – oh, how rich Your Word is!  Thank You for the insights of today – that have stayed with me throughout the day.  Father God, keep me humble.  Help me keep YOU on the throne of my life.   Keep working in my heart, purifying it for You.  Thank You for answering prayer for our neighbor.  Give us the grace and love to be good neighbors to them, tomorrow, and in the days to come.  Amen.

Study notes:

Aorist – past tense – an act that is completed, done

Passive – done to me, not to me


1Peter 1:3note Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The aorist passive tense The Aorist tense conveys the truth that the believer’s new birth (indicative mood is mood of reality) has occurred at a point in the past without specifying when this event occurred. The passive voice indicates this new birth was produced by a Source outside of the recipient and in context that Source is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Depending on the context the following adverbs may be useful to “amplify” the meaning of the action portrayed by the aorist tense:  “Effectively, successfully, completely, even once, actually, really”. – (Precept Austin)


Calls for a SPECIFIC, DEFINITE, DECISIVE choice. “DO THIS NOW, AT ONCE, ONCE FOR ALL and in one quick action (in contrast to present imperative which commands a habitual action). Often expresses a note of URGENCY. (Precept Austin)

The passive voice conveys the idea that the SUBJECT is being ACTED UPON by an OUTSIDE force or power. SUBJECT is the RECIPIENT or the RECEIVER of the verbal action or effect. In English passive voice is usually indicated by the phrase “to be”.

1Pe 1:15note but like the Holy One Who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior

Peter’s point then is that it is not believers who make themselves holy (eg, by keeping a list of do’s and don’t’s) but it is God Who makes us progressively more and more holy as we surrender our will to His sweet will. (Precept Austin)

This is an aorist passive imperative. This is a military term which means “to align oneself under authority” (cf. Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:13). Notice the twin aspects of submission (to God) and resistance (to evil). The first verbal form (aorist passive imperative) implies that believers must allow God to enable them to submit in a completed way to His will. (I must mention here that the passive voice was replacing the middle voice in Koine Greek. This text and 4:10 and 5:19 may be explained by this grammatical transition). The second verbal form (aorist active imperative) implies that the believer must combine God’s work with active participation—resist the devil in a complete way!  (Bob Utley)

Lumina – God has set a high standard of wholehearted love and devotion for His people, but He gives grace that is greater than His rigorous demand. Proverbs 3:34, quoted here, reminds us that God opposes the proud: those who pursue their own pleasures. However, He gives grace to the humble: those who put God’s desires first in their lives. He gives grace (help) to withstand the onslaughts of the flesh within and the world without.

4:7In view of God’s certain supply of this grace we need to adopt a definite stance toward the people involved in this conflict. Ten aorist imperatives in verses 7-10 demand decisive action. They sound like military commands and reflect how seriously James viewed double-mindedness.[188]

Toward God we must submit in humility. This means making what is of importance to Him important to us, ordering our priorities in harmony with God’s priorities. It means not living to fulfill our personal ambitions but using our lives to fulfill His desires. Submission is not identical to obedience. Submission involves the surrender of the will that results in obedience.

We must resist Satan strongly. When we do, he will flee from us. What is Satan trying to get us to do? The record of his temptations, including those of Eve and Jesus Christ, indicates that he wants to make us doubt, deny, disregard, and disobey God’s Word (cf. Gen. 3; Matt. 4). We resist him by refusing to do these things.

4:8While resisting Satan on the one hand, we must also draw near to God on the other. When we do, He will draw near to us. To draw near to God we must go through a purification process reminiscent of what the priests in Israel underwent. We must wash our hands, symbolic of our outward actions, as well as our divided hearts, symbolic of our inner attitudes and motives. We clean them by confession and repentance. We must remove sin from our hands and duplicity from our hearts. Single-mindedness involves singleness of purpose, namely, living for the glory of God rather than for both God’s glory and our own selfish desires (cf. 1:8).

4:9James was calling readers who had compromised with the world by following hedonism to get right with God. There is laughter and joy in the pursuit of personal desires, but we must abandon these in the process of repenting. James was not saying Christians must be constantly miserable, mourning, weeping, and gloomy. These are only the evidences of repentance from a formerly sinful attitude and lifestyle (cf. Matt. 5:3-4).

4:10In concluding this section of direct advice (vv. 7-10), James sounded the same note with which he began: submission to God in humility, putting Him before self. This always results in God lifting one up both immediately and eventually. Since this is the condition in which God can use us, He will proceed to do so for His glory (cf. Matt. 18:4; 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; 1 Pet. 5:6).

Were It Not for Grace –

Time measured out my days
Life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God
But knew Id never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where Id be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

So here is all my praise
Expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place
And ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full
Just how much His would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven
So I would not be lost


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