This week we are covering James chapter 4 summary and Bible Study questions. Just like last week, our book of James Bible Study takes us to a place where we look into a mirror of our hearts.
This chapter addresses pride and humility. The author seems to speak the truth in love when it comes to the difficult subject of pride. God needs to increase in our lives while we decrease in our own hearts. James Chapter Four provides the key to living a life of peace and humility. Reading God’s Word and studying the Bible draws us closer to Him. This chapter lays down the path to a more intimate relationship with The Lord. We also see that humility brings God’s grace into our hearts and lives.
James Chapter 4 Summary
Read James Chapter Four
I am not the type of person who likes quarrels. Also, I would prefer a relationship where there is very little competition. I also like to stay away from relationships where I feel like I need to meet a specific standard, especially if a person’s standard is pulling me away from God’s standard of grace in my life.
That’s not to say we need to wall up our hearts in order to stay away from these situations; it just takes confidence and a deep knowledge of our identity in Christ in order to resist the temptation to remain in a relationship made up of envy, competition, and trying to be better than the next person.
James Chapter 4: 1-4 addresses our pride and our need to see ourselves as better than the next person. This scripture looks at our selfishness when we want what someone else has without making the commitment, or doing the work, in order to get where we want to be in life.
If you recall, James chapter two does mention that “faith without works is dead.” When we are living in envy and pride, then we want a life where we can “get rich quick.” Yes, God’s favor and grace will be all over your life when you have faith as small as a mustard seed; however, if we expect it to come without putting in some sort of investment, commitment, and sacrifice, then we are believing a lie.
In James 4:6, scripture reminds us that:
“But He continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out His grace when you are humble.”
How many times do our prayers begin with a humble heart? When do we pray to God and acknowledge that we have more than we have ever earned or more than we ever deserved?
This chapter in the book of James is difficult to embrace because our pride doesn’t want to admit that maybe we are stuck in envy, jealousy, and our own pride. Pride truly prevents us from ever fully walking in God’s grace in our lives. I even wrote a short book about the topic of Breaking Pride if you would like to read it, and one thing I learned when God broke me of my pride is that in order to live in the overflow of the Holy Spirit, I will need to release the pride that I was holding onto.
We hold onto pride because it makes us feel better, and it causes us to try and find a way to build ourselves up, not anyone else! I think as a follower of Christ, we need to realize that when we are walking in humility, our actions will always build others up, not ourselves. A prideful leader can have a tendency to try and show the world that they are better, and that’s why they deserve the position they currently have. Even if we are not a leader, we can see that with pride, our actions can reflect that same motive of the heart; it is one that exalts ourselves above those around us.
When we look at John the Baptist, he even states in John 3:30:
So it’s necessary for him to increase and for me to be diminished
This statement comes from a humble servant, not a prideful leader. As we read James chapter four, we can see that our heart is often bent toward being a prideful leader rather than a humble servant.
Although it may seem like moving away from pride can be difficult in our lives, James chapter 4:8 gives us a glimpse into what we really need to do in order to become that humble servant. First, we need to resist the devil, and then scripture states we need to: Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. What is so amazing about Jesus is that in order to move past our pride and into this lifestyle, where we are covered in His grace and favor over our life, we simply need to draw nearer to Him.
How lovely it is to know that reading His word and doing a Bible Study will draw us closer to Him and move us further away from the pride in our hearts.
As we read further in James chapter four, we can see that scripture addresses the hurtful practice of slandering another person. Again, it is another look at the power of our words. The beauty of drawing nearer to Jesus, and becoming a humble servant, is that it’s easier to avoid being slanderous towards someone else because often these words are spoken out of the pain, envy, and sometimes jealousy we feel towards another person. Sometimes we even speak these words when the person has done nothing actually to offend us; often, these words are just the overflow from a heart full of envy and jealousy.
As the chapter ends, it continues to address the pride of boasting about what our plans are for the future. The lesson in this text is clear: boasting about the future takes us away from living in the now.
In James 4:17 it states:
So if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.
Have you ever noticed that boasting about the future can often lead us to do nothing in the present? How often do we remain stuck in the vision without working towards completing a project? This might feel like the author is just addressing the same topic of “faith without works is dead,” and I would say you are correct. If anything could sum up this chapter, it would be this:
Actions speak louder than words. Stop focusing on what other people have been entrusted with and ask yourself, “What has God entrusted me with?” Then draw closer to God so that you know how to steward your responsibilities well.
Once we realize what God has given us, I believe there is truly no other response that we would have other than humility; what an honor and privilege to have what you have and to do what you do! I can guarantee you that there will always be people who have more than you, and there will always be people who have less than you. Instead of dwelling in pride or guilt, find God’s grace and you will SEE His favor over your life, and then you will know what to do today!
Holy Spirit, thank you for revealing your truth to us through Your Word. Even though these truths are not always easy to embrace or grasp, we are still so humbled by your unending grace towards us. Holy Spirit, when our eyes begin to wander towards jealousy, envy, and boasting about the future, please ground us in the truth of what our life truly looks like, what you would have us do right now, and surround us in your mercy as we journey through this difficult life lesson. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!
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