Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

James 4:1-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts. (James 4: 7-8)
Silence is an opinion. Inaction is an action." This is a common saying in the conflict resolution arena. When we are confronted with decision making processes of life we often resort to these kind of decisions. However, in this passage James is giving us a new insight about resolving conflicts in our lives. The book of James is known as an exercise in Practical Christianity". James describes a conflict between two opposing forces, rather called "spirits," one spirit inclined toward evil and the other toward good. When we find conflicts in the family, in the city, in our nation, between nations, where do these conflicts, disputes, disagreements, differences, and quarrels come from? James is saying, "Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?"- conflicts that we have with others, our spouses, our children, our friends, our work associates or our neighbors. Do not most of these conflicts arise from inner cravings for things you do not have? Or think you do not have? (V.3) James in this passage is proposing three solutions to overcome these conflicts.
Resist the Evil: To begin with, in v.7 James is exhorting the faithful to resist the evil so that he will flee from you. Evil is a reality that human beings deal with every day. Thanks be to God because through birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he defeated evil at the cross. The only way we can resist and flee from evil today is with the Holy Spirit's power. Therefore, we are called to live in communion with one triune God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Incline toward God. V. 8, 9 describe a process of call to worship, a call to the community to practice worship that will prepare it for a religious pilgrimage by following a protocol of purification. Phrases such as cleanse, purify, mourn, weep, joy etc. are used to describe this confessional nature of worship, which marks the separation between "friendship with the world" and friendship with God. We draw near to God through worship and God draws near to us when we study God's Word, we live in his Word, and this Word speaks to us.
Humble yourselves before the Lord (v.10). It is a very difficult process for anyone. Everyone wants to do the things according to their own will. However, scripture is reminding us to humble ourselves. One way we can humble ourselves is by recognizing that our own worth comes from God alone. Despite our shortcomings God reaches out to us with His love, care, and mercy. God's recognition alone gives us worth and dignity. When God affirms our identity and worth we can only humble ourselves. When we humble ourselves God will lift us up.
Lord, give us the grace to resist evil, purify and humble ourselves in all the walks of our life. Amen.
Blessed are the peacemakers not the peace lovers.

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church