Who Gets Grace?
Read James 4:6-7 (ESV)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We know that God is a gracious and loving God. But this grace isn’t given to everyone. According to James, who does God give grace to?
American culture has historically been individualistic and self-sufficient. We are proud of our “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of mentality. It has served our country well for the most part. Intelligent, resourceful, and hardworking people built this country. But when this type of thinking invades our spiritual lives, it often leads to a serious problem.
You see, we can’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to overcome the sin in our lives. No matter how hard working we are, we can’t save ourselves. Our independent attitude wants to tell God that “we can do it!” But the fact is, we can’t.
Yesterday, James reminded us that to be friends with the world is to be enemies with God (James 4:4). Self-sufficiency, independence, and pride are worldly ideals. Biblical ideals are the sufficiency of Christ, dependence on God and His grace, and humility over self-importance and arrogance.
Today, we read some good news from James. God gives us more grace! Grace that is greater than our sin! But James was clear that this grace is not for the proud. It is for those humble enough to understand that they need God’s grace. For those humble enough to submit to Him rather than insist on their way. For those humble enough to resist Satan and his schemes. Who gets grace? Those humble enough to receive it.
James wrote that God opposes the proud. That means that He is against them. They are His enemies. But those who take a stand against Satan, resist Him, and submit to God’s authority instead are on God’s side. You see, there really are only two sides.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God insisted that in order for His people, Israel, to receive His gracious blessings, they must humble themselves: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Over and over again in the Old Testament, we see that pattern with Israel. They would pridefully reject God’s commands and would commit spiritual adultery as they worshiped other gods. But after enduring punishment, they would cry out to God for help. Each and every time, they would have to repent of their foolish pride and turn from their sins. They would have to bow their knees to the Lord and no other.
We aren’t under the Old Covenant like Israel was. But it is still a reality that we all worship, serve, and pledge our allegiance to either the world (ruled by Satan) or the Lord. If we aren’t for Jesus, we are against Him (Matthew 12:30). Like the Israelites, we often wander away from God because of our arrogance, pride, and selfishness. But, if we humbly submit to Him and repent of our sins, we can receive a greater grace than we ever imagined. A grace that eternally saves and a grace that gives us daily strength to follow Him.
Friend don’t try to go it alone. You can’t work your way out of this one and you can’t earn favor with God. Don’t try to be self-sufficient and independent. Be dependent on the all-sufficient One. Submit to Him. Humble yourself. And by His grace, He will lift You up (James 4:10).
Lord, I admit that I can’t do this on my own but I have tried. I need You. I am sorry for all the ways that I have gone astray and in my own pride, sought to do things my own way. Your way is better! Please forgive me, Lord. I need Your grace. Every hour of every day. Amen.