February 21, 1999


I have been trying to keep the messages simple and to the point. I should have made the last message from James 4:1-10 into two: First, the cause of man's problems, and second, the answer to man's problems.

James 4:1-5, the Spirit of God identifies man's problems in no uncertain terms. Man's basic problem is that he is a sinner. His warfare involves the fallen nature trying to drag him down from the image of God in which he was made.

James defines the problem --- that is, the lusts that war in our members. James concludes his identification of the problem with this question, v. 5: "God has told you what is the source of man's problems, inner sin. Why do you ignore God's warnings? Why do you act as though the problem is elsewhere? Why do you blame your problems on others?"

Then vv. 6-10, James gives the two part answer to the problems he identified in v. 1:


Vv. 8, 9, first, we are to weep and mourn over the power of sin in our lives. There is no hint of weeping and mourning over the power of the devil in our lives.

The first step in having peace with God, with ourselves and with others is to be broken (afflicted, mourn, weep) over sin.


Vv. 7, 10, second, to humble ourselves under proper authority, especially before God. It is the Lord who must give the grace to overcome the ENEMIES of our souls --- the flesh (v. 1, fallen nature), the world (v. 4) and the devil (v. 7).

The offer to Eve was that the creature, man, could be his own god, determining for himself what is right and wrong. He does not need God's word to tell him what he can and can not do. And because he desires to be his own god, he has the wars and fightings mentioned by James, vv. 1-5.

James tells us that the only answer to man's desire to determine his own way is to admit that his way is not the right way, and that he cannot be his own god

Without humility, there cannot be peace with ourselves, nor with our neighbour, nor with God.

Humility is the most difficult Christian virtue there is to develop, because it is the most opposite of the first sin. Our nature will fight against this with every ounce of our emotional strength.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore {10} under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

(10) Because those proud and lofty spirits threaten the modest and humble, the apostle warns us to set the power of God against the vanity of proud men, and to rely completely on his providence. (Geneva, Online Bible)
Ver. 6. Humble yourselves therefore, &c.] Or be ye humbled before God, and in his sight; quietly submit to his will; patiently bear every affliction without murmuring, repining (expressed complaint, ed.) , or replying against him; be still under the rod, and despise not the chastening of the Lord; mourn over sin as the cause, acknowledge your vileness and unworthiness, and stand in awe of his majesty, (Gill, Online Bible)
(1.) The consideration of the omnipotent hand of God should make us humble and submissive to him in all that he brings upon us. (MH, Online Bible)
(2.) Humbling ourselves to God under his hand is the next way to deliverance and exaltation; patience under his chastisements, and submission to his pleasure, repentance, prayer, and hope in his mercy, will engage his help and release in due time, #Jas 4:7,10. (Emp. added. MH)
Under the mighty hand of God. This refers probably to the calamities which he had brought upon them, or was about to bring upon them ; represented here, as often elsewhere, as the infliction of his hand--the hand being that by which we accomplish anything. When that hand was upon them they were not to be lifted up with pride and with a spirit of rebellion, but were to take a lowly place before him, and submit to him with a calm mind, believing that he would exalt them in due time... (Barnes' Notes)
Now I want to spend the time I did not last time defining humble. Some of these points could be combined.

First, humble and submit go together. We cannot be humble without submitting to the Lord, nor can we submit to the Lord without being humble.

Second, humble means to submit to God's standard of righteousness as clearly spelled out in his word. This means submission to his way of salvation, for we cannot obtain to his standard -- God's method of righteousness and salvation, which is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Third, submitted to God's standard of righteousness for salvation also means submiting to God's standard of righteous in our living --- right living. The humble will not despise the chastening of the Lord, for he will readily recognize where he has violated God's righteous standard. (Job 5:17, Pro. 3:11, Heb. 12:5.)

2 Chronicles 12:6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.

Fourth, humble means to face up to sin as the cause of one's problems. He will not place the blame on others.

The humble will then mourn over his sin. He will confess, acknowledge his wickedness in his very emotions (not just with his head). He will repentant (turn from sin), prayr and helplessly cast himself upon God's mercy.

Psalms 6:2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Fifth, the humble will realizes he is totally empty and worthless without God's mercy and grace. (John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.) He will recognize his unworthiness, and then he will be amazed at the majesty of God as seen in Christ.

Psalms 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Sixth, humble means to willingly submit to the refiner's fire to see if there is any wicked way in us:

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Seventh, humble means complete submission to Divine providence, i.e., his omnipotent hand, in whatever situation he has us in. We must be confident in his loving care shown in his providence, whether that providence leads to afflictions or to blessings.

The humble will submit to God's divine pleasure without rebellion nor pride.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

We must be resigned to the Lord's will. We must be content with whatever state he has us. We must be content with what he has provided us. We must lay aside all envious desires.

Psalms 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

This submission is quite difficult especially when it comes to family.

Eighth, humble means submitting to God and doing all things without murmurings and disputing:

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Note the context of 1 Corinthians 10:10 -- v. 12 deals with pride.

Ninth, humble means submission to God's time table:

1 Peter 5:6, 7, 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Here we have a clear call to patience and long suffering, if needed, in whatever situation he has us.

Tenth, humility and submission is to the Lord, not to man. However, we show our submission to God by our proper submission to the proper authority God has over us.

The result of genuine humility is that we can cast our cares upon him, 1 Peter 5:7, above.

"Throw your cares, which are so cutting and distracting, which wound your souls and pierce your hearts, upon the wise and gracious providence of God; trust in him with a firm composed mind, for he careth for you. He is willing to release you of your care, and take the care of you upon himself. He will either avert what you fear, or support you under it. He will order all events to you so as shall convince you of his paternal love and tenderness towards you; and all shall be so ordered that no hurt, but good, shall come unto you,"
#Mt 6:25; Ps 84:11; Ro 8:28. Learn,
1. The best of Christians are apt to labour under the burden of anxious and excessive care; the apostle calls it, all your care, intimating that the cares of Christians are various and of more sorts than one: personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, cares for the future, cares for themselves, for others, and for the church.
2. The cares even of good people are very burdensome, and too often very sinful; when they arise from unbelief and diffidence, when they torture and distract the mind, unfit us for the duties of our place and hinder our delightful service of God, they are very criminal.
3. The best remedy against immoderate care is to cast our care upon God, and resign every event to the wise and gracious determination. A firm belief of the rectitude of the divine will and counsels calms the spirit of man. We ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done, #Ac 21:14. (MH)
Casting. Simply submitting, doing the Lord's will, and casting all care on him. (PNT, Online Bible.)
The disciples cast their garments upon the colt for Christ, Lk. 19:35. Peter is referring to
Psalms 55:22, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Worry will not add one hair to our head, nor one inch to our height. Worry will not add one dollar to our wealth -- that takes work and God's blessings.

Failure to submit to God and to cast our cares upon him are the primary reasons why lust has such good success against us. If we desire the devil to flee from us, we must be willing to submit to God, which includes casting our cares upon him. Find from his word what he would have us to do, and do it.

For each vice the enemies have to use against us, the word of God gives us a positive virtue. Find it, and use it in our thoughts and in our actions.

The world, flesh and the devil must be seen as enemies determined to destroy us. Their influence must be opposed by all that is within us. Every weapon at our disposal must be used: the whole armor of God, the sword of the Spirit, prayer, &c., which is another study. (See John Gill)