People trace the cause of all their problems to other people putting them down.
- The problem is always out there never in here.
- The problem is always them and never me
- If the problem is never my problem, I cannot fix it
Are we blaming the right person? Are we so helpless and hopeless? I want to show you that blaming yourself is not only more truthful but more helpful and more hopeful. Let’s turn to James 4:1-10 to see how this works.
ME-FIRST PASSIONS RUIN RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF (1-2A)
- “Your passions are at war within you” (1a)
- Your passions go unsatisfied (2a): “You desire and do not have….”
That’s bad. I see my me-first passion is dragging me down How do I fix this? What should I do? Before we look at the fix, I want you to see your situation is even worse than you think.
ME-FIRST PASSIONS RUIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (1-2A)
- You’re at war with others (1a): “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?”
- These wars ruin your relationships (2b): “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
That’s really bad. I see my me-first passion is dragging me down How do I fix this? What should I do? Before we look at the fix, I want you to see your situation is even worse than you think.
ME-FIRST PASSIONS RUIN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (2B-6)
- You’re at war with God (2c): “You do not have, because you do not ask.”
- You pray for self-satisfaction (3): “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
- You’ve become a friend of the world (4a): “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
- You’ve become an enemy of God (4-6): “Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? …God opposes the proud.”
That’s really, really bad. It’s far worse than I thought. Please tell me how to put this right.
GOD-FIRST SUBMISSION WILL ELEVATE YOU (7-10)
- God-first submission looks like this (7-9): “God…gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom”
- God-first submission will exalt you (10): “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Does that not motivate you to pursue a God-first life rather than a me-first life?
LIVING THE BIBLE
Replace me-first passions with God-first passion and you’ll experience relational health and happiness.
PRAYING THE BIBLE
Supreme God, I want to lift you up and make you first in my life.
I acknowledge that’s not always the case. Although I try to blame others for my problems, the vast majority of them are not caused by other people but by my selfish passions.
I see the damage this does to me, to others, and to my relationship with you. Therefore dethrone me-first passions and enthrone you-first passions.
I see how Jesus did this when he said, “Not my will but your will be done.” And so I make that my prayer knowing that as you have highly exalted your Son and Servant, you will lift me up too, even when others put me down. Amen.