NT Fire Starters – Day 322: James 3:13-4:12
READ: James 3:13–4:12
THINK: Can you recall a time when the devil tried to get the best of you, but you resisted him–like it says in James 4:7–except that he didn’t “flee from you”? In fact, he pressured you relentlessly until you finally gave in. What went wrong? Why didn’t that strategy work for you? Like many Christians, you may have tried to gain spiritual victory by focusing on the last part of that verse and trying by sheer determination to resist Satan’s schemes on your own. But the key to victory is in the first part of verse 7, which says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” Among other things, this involves letting go of any sin in your life, surrendering completely to God’s way of doing things, and continuing to do what He shows you, with a humble and grateful attitude.
RESPOND: According to verse 13, how is wisdom demonstrated? What is “selfish ambition”? (See 3:14 note.) How does “bitter envy and selfish ambition” reveal a lack of godly wisdom (v. 15)? Why and how does envy and selfish ambition lead to “disorder and every evil practice” (v. 16)? What are some of the character traits of “the wisdom that comes from heaven”? (See 3:17 note.) What causes fights and quarrels among Christians? (See 4:1 note.) In what way does this show a lack of dependence on God (v. 2)? What’s one reason that people don’t get answers to prayer? (See 4:3 note.) What does it mean “that friendship with the world is hatred toward God”? (See 4:4 note.) Whom does God oppose, and to whom does He give more grace? (See 4:6-8 note and 4:6 note.) How does God demonstrate this opposition and grace? What’s the key to resisting the devil and causing him to “flee from you”? (See 4:7 note.) What is involved in submitting to God? What’s a key to developing a deeper relationship with God? (See 4:8 note.) What is the key to the Lord lifting you up (v. 10)? Why is slandering other people such a serious offense? (See 4:11 note.)
PRAY: Ask God for wisdom and the discipline to use it. Pray that you’ll not get caught up with selfish ambitions. Pray that you will avoid quarrels with other Christians and that you will demonstrate humility toward God and others. Ask God to help you always submit to Him and His plans so that you can effectively resist the devil.
ACT: With God’s help, take steps to remove any selfish ambition from your life. Take steps to settle any quarrels with other Christians. If you’ve spoken in a slanderous way about anyone, apologize to those who have been affected.