by Roger Thomas

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Finding God in a Godless World (6 of 10)
Basic Prayer
Roger Thomas
James 4:7-10
February 11, 2001

Our human nature tells us to believe that God helps those who help themselves. The Bible teaches us to believe that God helps those who ask for his help. The Bible teaches us that what God wants from us is humility, trust, and dependence. He wants us to come to him in prayer as a first impulse, not a last resort.
Look back at the beginning of James 4 for a minute. James' theme throughout is friendship with the world. The marks of such a lifestyle are: 1) a wrong understanding of ourselves, living as if our wants were the center of the universe; 2) the wrong attitude toward things, covetousness; 3) broken fellowship with other people whom we see as getting in the way of our wants; 4) and a broken relationship with God. He becomes a means to our ends, not the goal of our life and faith.

James literally calls his readers "adulteresses" (a fact obscured by the NIV translation). This does not mean that he is addressing only women, but that he wants us to see that he is borrowing language from the Old Testament. The Old Testament pictures Israel as God's bride, who at the same time wanted to enjoy other "lovers," finding security in other gods and imperial powers (see Isa. 1:21; Jer 3; Hos 1-3). Given the New Testament bride-of-Christ language (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22-24; Rev 19; 21), borrowing this language for the New Testament is quite appropriate. The "other lover" in this case is "the world"; that is, the values and goals of the non-Christian culture.

James 4 is about ridding our selves of the world's pollution, from stinking thinking. The world thinks this way; we shouldn't. The prevailing non-Christian culture acts this way; we must not. For example, most people think we should take care of ourselves and only ask for God's help as a last resort. People who know the Living God think and act differently. And when we don't, when we allow our li ...

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