Sunday 29 November
Reading: - James chapter 4 verses 1-6 (NIV)
Submit Yourselves to God
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”
Message, Submission to God
This reading picks up on last week’s theme, 'submission to God', and develops it a bit more!
The reading is about the warning of where our head and heart naturally wants to take us. Last week I was saying it is the head and heart that allows us to tame our tongues. Yes, with discipline we can rule over our tongues but as the reading shows us many of us lack that self-discipline so what are we to do?
I believe that the story of Mary and Joseph and for that matter the Magi or Wise Men as they are better known points us in the right direction. Their choice was to follow God’s plan and we can read and know that God looked after them, providing all they needed. We also know that we are called to have no favourites as we saw in James 2. Therefore, we can know as a truth that God has no favourites, 'if he has – is he not a hypocrite'? Strong words but let me be perfectly clear – I don’t accept God is a hypocrite, therefore my only choice is to accept he has no favourites and will therefore do for us as he did for them! Care for us, provide for us, guide us, resource us. They had the hard part, they had to trust in God – blindly! They only had the Old Testament teaching to build their faith on. We on the other hand have their submission, obedience, and their ongoing story as the preface to Christ’s story, all of which is the basis of our faith.
You do know that the Bible, in any translation or language would be the Best Seller every year. Such is the way of the world that it is excluded in all translations, paraphrases and languages. This is the thin end of the wedge of secularism. A world view that nips away at Christianity and wants us to have an empty faith. One where to say we believe in God, in Jesus is enough when it isn’t. Let us guard our heads and our hearts from this world view and follow Mary and Joseph as our mentors.
If we allow ourselves to lessen the foundations of our Faith, we are in danger of losing it all together.
There can be but one reason for Christmas, it is Christ’s Mass!
If the secular world didn’t want us to lose our faith, they would have called for their “Holiday” at another time of the year. They could have had Santa and Cards and all the other hype to drive their profit margins because that is all that it is to Non-Christians! A means to increase corporate profits!
We, in giving gifts, do so in memory and as a remembrance of what God gave us. We share the blessings he gives us with those we love because that is exactly what he did.
The extortionate extravagance of His gift was fully within His capacity whilst for many caught up in the hype, their giving bursts the bank in so many ways.
I pray you are willing and able to open your heart to God and submit to him this Christmas, not submit to the Advent Conspiracy and open up your purses and wallets to consumerism.