Chapter 4

Desire & Asking

(Ensure the preceding verses are read)

Q. According to James, what causes fighting?

A. Competing desires which produces envy and greed (James 1:15). What happens on the inside finds its way to the outside. Concupiscence.

Q. Why do their desires go unfilled?

A. Two reasons are given:

1. They don’t ask God, relying instead upon themselves
2. They ask for things selfishly.

Q. Looking at the whole of Scripture then, what is the right way to ask?

1. With Faith (Mt 21:22)
2. From a place of abiding in God’s word (Jn 15:7-8)
3. With thanksgiving (Phil 4:6)
4. From a place of obedience (1 Jn 3:22)
5. According to God’s will (1 Jn 5:14-15, Mt 6:21-33, Mt 6:25-34)

Infidelity

Q. Why is friendship with the world emnity with God? Why does James call his readers “unfaithful”?

A. The word used is “moichalis” and literally means “adulteress”. Marriage. Giving love, allegiance, seeking fulfilment and security in the wrong place. Is it possible to have an “insignificant” affair? God or the world – pick one.

OT illusions to idolatry, unfaithfulness to God’s covenant (Jer 3:6-10; 31:32, Hosea 3:1). Choosing the creation over the creator (1 Jn 2:15-17)

Q. What doe the bit about jealousy mean?

A. There are two interpretive choices here:

1. God’s good jealously
2. Our spirit’s envious yearning

Q. What does God promise?

A. Grace

Q. What are we called to do?

A. Although tis ultimately grace which enables this: humble yourself, mourn, weep. Resist Satan. Draw near to God. Cleanse yourself

Q. Why does God “oppose the proud”?

A. It blinds us to our need (“Blessed are the poor in spirit…he has cast the mighty down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly”)

Q. Can the devil make you sin?

A. No, only tempt (1 Peter 5:8)

Judging

Q. Why does James say we shouldn’t judge?

A. Judge your brother and you judge the law and there is only ONE law giver. It offends the virtue of charity. Who do you think you are?! You break the royal law and set yourself up as judge. We’re back to pride…again… (Mt 7:1-5)

Presumption

Q. What do the people in verse 13 think they control?

A. Time, events, life…

Q. What’s the problem with this?

A. They don’t! It’s pride. Not trusting in God or the guiding of the Spirit. “Practical Atheism” – JP2

Q. What should they do?

A. Recognise God’s providence

Q. What happens when this reality sinks in?

A. Priorities. Lordship of Christ

 

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