Friday, February 7, 2014

40 Day Retreat with Jesus: Day 7

It's really interesting because usually when I start these things, Satan tends to get in the way...things come up and I end up giving up after a few days because I just can't seem to get the posts done. I'm determined to see this through, even if posts end up being late. I've dealt with visits to a surgeon's office, dental appointments for all the kids, my regular wound care regime, and some excruciating pain, but what better way to glorify God than to do it when we are at our weakest, most vulnerable moments? So, day 7...

James 4: 6-12

You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says, God opposes the proud but He pours out grace on the humble. So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other. Now is the time to lament, to grieve, and to cry. Dissolve your laughter into sobbing, and exchange your joy for depression. Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground, in humility before the Lord; and He will lift your head so you can stand tall. My brothers and sisters, do not assault each other with criticism. If you decide your job is to accuse and judge another believer, then you are a self-appointed critic and judge of the law; if so, then you are no longer a doer of the law and subject to its rule; you stand over it as a judge. Know this—there is One who stands supreme as Judge and Lawgiver. He alone is able to save and to destroy, so who are you to step in and try to judge another?
The world is full of temptations and it is often hard to turn ourselves away from them. However, when we do, God gives us the grace to do so. That is illustrated here in this particular passage and that he "pours out grace on the humble". However, we get a big, fat reality check when we turn our back on God and fall in to the "ways of the world" always comes back and bites us at some point. I've written before about what's happened to me when I've allowed the world to consume me and how God has brought me back to where I need to be, but this passage cements my beliefs, that when you submit yourself to the Lord, ask for forgiveness and direction, He will put you back where you need to be.

This also talks about judgement, and how we are not supposed to be judgmental of others, particularly other Christians. I firmly believe there is a difference between judging someone and convicting someone of something, or gently pulling them aside and pointing something out. This needs to be done with careful consideration and lots of prayerful thought. I'm sure I'll at some point elaborate on the practice of conviction at some point, but not today.