“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. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
God gives grace to the believer as a stimulant and energizing force for repentance and spiritual growth. When we are self-centered and arrogant, the Lord exhorts us to humble ourselves and repent. The Lord doesn’t have to do this. He could just punish us, and He would be justified in doing so.
Instead, the Lord gives more grace and exhorts us to repent. “He gives more grace” is not just a moment-of-salvation thing; it is also about ongoing spiritual growth. This is a critically important message for all Christians, because when we are self-centered and resisting God’s grace, we stagnate and fail to grow.
James goes on in this passage to exhort selfish people to repent and receive God’s grace: “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. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4.9-10)
When self-centeredness goes up, self-awareness goes down. As a result of this distorted view of life, self-centered people pursue the wrong things, laugh at the wrong things, and take joy in the wrong things. James’ message to them is this: The things you are pursuing are worldly and will ruin your life. Turn away from those things and be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humility is a right understanding of yourself in relationship to God and others. When humility goes up, self-awareness goes up. It therefore produces repentance, faith, gratitude, and obedience.
Humble people read Ephesians 2.1-5 and see themselves in the passage: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved …”
Grace is not just for salvation; it is also essential for daily Christian living.
The Lord is calling.