Recently, as I was reading James 4:4-10, the Spirit stirred me with the truth of the passage. As I took to heart the challenge to draw near to God, soon I became aware that God was reviving my heart afresh. The impact is real.

Though the Lord never leaves us, there are times when we need to draw near to God. What is behind a sense of distance from God, and, importantly, what is the way back?

1. The way away from God is disloyalty – James 4:4-6

4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Two perspectives reveal the nature and depth of disloyalty.

First, the text unfolds human treachery. As marriage is a relationship of love and loyalty to one’s spouse, so discipleship ought to be a relationship of love and loyalty to God. In contrast to this, verse 4 introduces the idea of spiritual adultery; an analogy for worldliness. When you consider this and the stated need to purify or make single a double-minded heart (verse 8), worldliness is shown at its core to be any disloyalty to God. Worldliness embraces that part of the world system influenced by the god of this world and inevitably pulls one away from fellowship with God. The manifestations of disloyalty which grieve the Spirit are many and varied.

Old Testament histories catalog a variety of idols that unfaithful men thought worthy of acclaim, but a primary New Testament focus is on man seeking after that idol identified simply as the world.  The hostility of such a pursuit is made plain in a startling manner as James closes verse 4 by declaring that the blood-bought saint, in choosing friendship with the world, has chosen to be an enemy of God.

The second perspective in the text reveals divine jealousy. Just as disloyalty fills the heart of a faithful spouse with jealousy, verse 5 states that the Holy Spirit is filled with envy when a saint is disloyal. And what is urged to all in verse 6 from a God whose love is unflagging and true? He gives mega grace to stand against disloyalty. With the constant provision of God’s supernatural enabling power, we do not have to be disloyal.

2. The way back to God is humility – James 4:7-10

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
1Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up

Ten successive imperatives show the way back. All ten use a verb tense emphasizing the fact of an action, and therefore, the process is not long and drawn out.

Submit to God’s chastening. Since God resists the proud (verse 6), submit (a passive voice command) simply means to allow God’s chastening to bring you to surrender.

Resist the devil’s attempt to make you disloyal to God. Practically speaking, say “No!” to the devil and declare ‘I’m God’s!” The devil must flee!

Then, obtain the promises. In verses 8 and 10 are two major promises to be obtained by faith.  First, as you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. How? It starts with honesty regarding sin and a need for cleansing followed by a return to loyalty that purifies or makes single the double-minded heart. Brokenness over disloyalty is seen in verse 9 in the commands to grieve, mourn, and weep, and then letting the weight of the realization of your disloyalty turn carelessness into grief. Then second, when you allow yourself to be humbled in this way, God promises He will lift you up.

That’s revival!

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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About This Blog

Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.