James__4

Scripture  
 
James 4:5  
 
Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
The book of James, which is written by the brother of Jesus, covers a range of topics, most notably our faith in action.  In chapter four, he turns to a set of attitudes and behaviors which we should avoid: jealousy, covetousness, pride, etc..  In verse five, James reminds us of the amazing reality that the maker of the universe wants to be with us.  In a practical way, he shows how the materialism around us can deter us from being close to Him.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
I was sitting in the middle of the football field, with my eyes closed, thinking to myself, “I look really stupid.”  My cross-country coach had us sitting quietly thinking about racing, thinking about our breathing, thinking about crossing the finish line a winner, all while the football team and the cheerleaders were milling around us.  But my coach had a point, we couldn’t run to our full potential unless we had practiced it in our minds as well as in our bodies.  In fact, nowadays sports teams spend a lot of money on sports psychologists who help their players visualize being at the top of their game.  When you watch the olympics, you might catch a glimpse of an ice-skater standing on the side of the rink, flailing their arms around, visualizing their routine before it starts.

As Christians, one of our ultimate realities is we are going to spend eternity with Jesus.  I recently listened to a sermon by a pastor named Dave Lomas.  He was teaching on Revelation 4, and the picture of worship in heaven it gives us.  Lomas used this as a starting point to show that, since God wants to be the center of our hearts and that we will spend out eternity giving Him glory, our time spent worshiping on earth is an act of practice and visualization of eternity.  When we attend church on a Sunday morning, it is a practice of the corporate worship we will come to realize in heaven.

I find this to be the best way for me to rid myself of the distractions this world brings.  It is very hard for me to think about wanting a better paycheck or a bigger house, when I am surrounded by a group of God’s children who are immersed in singing of the greatness of God’s love.  Similarly to James, the author of Hebrews tells us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” by continuing to meet together (10:24-25).  In Ephesians 5, Paul writes of how we can be imitators of Christ, encouraging us to lift up one another by “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (5:18).”  

 
Life Application  
 
Jesus fill my heart with a joy, and fill my mouth with a song.  May my life be an act of worship to you, not only in my words but also in my actions.  Help me to encourage those around me to worship you as well.  Forgive me for the times where I am focused on the material things that will not bring me the satisfaction and fulfillment that you do.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48i4l1715uc  
 
-Tyler Galloway