While I was visiting my daughter Judie in Sisters Oregon, she and I attended the
and Sunday school class. The teacher in
SS was reading from James chapter 4 (We
were to consider ourselves if any of these verses applied to us personally.) Nazarene Church
James was warning against Worldliness. James said to stop acting like belligerent immature children. The Christians were only thinking of themselves not considering others.
James asks the Christians; “What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this; that your passions are at war within you?” You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Our teacher asked us to consider the spiritual application of the next verses: James was saying the Christians were NOT being Christ-like, but rather were desirous to be like the World. They were “Worldly,” thus not following God. Set your mind on Godly things.
The Christians were committing spiritual adultery in their minds because their thoughts were not on God. They were always excited and thinking about worldly activities. God cannot be shared with other gods. It is not wrong to be human, but we must focus on God.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James urges the Christians to put aside pride and to be humble, submitting to God’s will. Allow God to exalt you, not blowing your own trumpet. Our part is to resist the devil, and he will flee from you. After you have resisted temptation it is time to draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
The class discussion turned to spiritual adultery, spiritual washing of our hands and our contradictory thinking.
My daughter Judie turned to me and asked, “Mom, do you want to add a comment to this discussion?” So I was happy to oblige - -
“I was reminded of Jesus’ teaching when he said if your eye or hand offends you to pluck it out or cut it off - - He was not speaking of literally removing your eye or hand, but to STOP the activity or thoughts and to exchange it for something pleasing to God. Jesus considered our thoughts are very important; because he said even to look at a woman (to lust after her) was the same as committing adultery.
The other day I was reading about the Pharisees. They were sticklers about the “Law;” having over 800 rules and commands, over 1800 prohibitions and emulations. They were known as the “Bleeding Pharisees,” because to avoid looking at a woman, they walked with their head down. This caused them to bump into walls and other things.”
Jesus made the law impossible to keep and then he told us to keep it. Jesus said, “Be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
Our Bible lesson ended in prayer, and the sermon for today was: “By our fruits we shall be known because we have LOVE for one another.” Jesus gave us the law of Love.