Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Environment

Scripture:


James 4:8-10 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (9) Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (10) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.



Observation:


How can you come close to God? James gives five ways: (1) Humble yourselves before God (James 4:7). Yield to his authority and will, commit your life to him and his control, and be willing to follow him. (2) Resist the devil (James 4:7). Don't allow Satan to entice and tempt you. (3) Wash your hands . . . and purify your hearts (that is, lead a pure life) (James 4:8). Be cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God's purity. (4) Let there be sorrow and deep grief for your sins (James 4:9). Don't be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done. (5) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor (James 4:10; I Peter 5:6).



Application:


I love the way these verses read in the Message:


James 4:8-10 Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. (9) Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. (10) Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.


James is describing an environment where God is able to bring about victory, holiness, peace and joy into our life. What kind of an environment do you start each day with? Praise and worship?


I preached this past Sunday on Ebenezer. Ebenezer is a declaration of "thus far has the Lord helped me!" However, there is another Ebenezer that is known for a statement he made. "Bah Humbug!" (Ebenezer Scrooge). Which Ebenezer are you? One of praise and declaration or one of pessimism? It really is about the environment you life in today.


When (the late) pastor Adrian Rogers wanted to attract birds to his garden, a neighbor told him, 'If you create the right environment they'll come.' So he bought the right kind of food, the right kind of birdhouse, mounted it on the right kind of pole, and enjoyed hosting a variety of birds. Rogers pointed out that many of us unwittingly roll out the welcome mat for the devil by creating an environment where he feels right at home. Satan can't take any ground you don't give him. He's looking for an environment where he can live comfortably.


If you've given the devil a place in your life today, you can reclaim that lost ground. First, by faith: '… every child of God defeats this evil world… through our faith' (1 John 5:4 NLT). God empowers us for spiritual warfare, and that power is released through faith. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you confidence.


Second, by resisting: '… submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you' (James 4:7 NKJV). Only as you submit to God, will you have the power to overcome the devil. You must come against him in the Name of Jesus and the authority of God's Word.


Third, by fighting: 'Put on the full armour of God so that you can… stand against the devil's schemes' (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Remember, 'The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God… will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand… ' (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).


Prayer:


"Lord, I recommit my life and my ways to you today. I stand against the devil by Your Word. He has no place or authority in my life, except what I give him. I take back, renounce, any PLACE that I have given to him in days, weeks and years past. I now give myself to You Lord, and I know the devil has to flee. Help me to work at having these five things mentioned in our verses a part of my life today and having an environment of "Thus far has the Lord helped me" and not "Bah Humbug!" I make a conscious effort to have an environment of faith, in Jesus name!"

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you.