To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
May/June 2016 Issue – The Presence of God, ‘You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’ Psalm 16:11
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
James 4:1-10 (NIVUK): ”What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
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. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
These verses, taken from James’ letter are certainly direct and to the point. Words, like “anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God“, may appear harsh on a first look, but James is basically saying that we should not condone the sinful habits of those who are rebelling against God.
There are aspects of today’s study that I’m still thinking about, yet I liked the following points made by Selwyn: “At present we are looking at one of the greatest truths in the universe, namely that God is on a persistent redemptive search for us. … God has gone to the utmost lengths to save us, but in order to know Him we need to now turn to Him in contrition and repentance and invite Him to take up residency within us.”
We know from John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” That just as Jesus chose His disciples, He has also selected us to be God’s children; through the gift of faith, we come to believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us. It is this belief in Jesus that is the foundation stone of our consent and desire to follow Him all the days of our life.
Consent to accept Christ’s saving grace is demonstrated by our love for God and our desire to faithfully follow His teaching. Sadly, there are some people who say they believe in Jesus but their lives demonstrate that they prefer to live as friends of this world.