stripped of everything

Blogger Small Group

with 15 comments

No great speech, here is this weeks Small Group in partnership with Consuming Worship; James chapter four(4). [This is also being submitted as another entry for Creative Chaos over at Ragamuffinsoul in hopes to help others be aware of a small group they can participate in directly from their computer.] (Side Note: If you haven’t read James chapter four(4), but want to participate. Read it now and write about it. Any input is better than no input. Everyone is welcome.) [Mr. Linky is at the bottom]

James 4:1-3

“Desires that battle within you”

Interesting. It doesn’t say the desires that you battle with one another. But when talking about arguing or fights, it talks about the desires within yourself. Personally, for me, I constantly think that when I fight with someone it’s because of the battle between myself and the other person. It makes sense though. I think about envy a lot here. When we envy something, we have this selfish desire, while yet still we also have this Godly desire within us, yet it is forgotten. While we’re trying to battle these two different desires, it causes tension from within. If a friend offers their opinion, no matter what it is, it will normally cause us to snap back, and we will argue either way. It’s the product of this battle that James is talking about. James says, “You want something, but don’t get it.” We get mad. Why? Because we envy someone or something else that does “get it”. He then goes on and says:

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

We ask with the wrong motives? What motives do you think those might be? Sure, he says for our own “pleasures”. Again for me I immediately think of this sin of envy. We see something, we want it, we pray for it. The only reason we’re praying is because WE want something, not because we feel or see the benefit of God in it. This resonates within me. This challenges me.

James 4:4-6 – He immediately slams me here. I have a hard time really separating what James truly means by “the world” in this passage. The world; does it mean anything against God? Does, the world, mean anything that distracts you from God? Are both of those the same? Does this include things like unneeded laptops or electronic gadgets that we purchase while there are millions starving in other countries and in our own? What does “the world” look like? The one scripture here that speaks volumes to me and pushes me to continue to read more and gain the knowledge of this particular chapter is this line in verse 6:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”

Think about that, and help me define “the world” small group bloggers.

James 4:7-10 – Maybe it’s here he is telling us how to stay away from the world. Maybe it’s here that he is not helping us define what “the world” is, but more of what “the world” isn’t. James is being lead to give us direct details of what it means to surrender.

“7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

I love verse nine. He tells us to “grieve, mourn and wail”. Sometimes as a Christian, I feel like I’m supposed to be strong for others, not cry, not show pain, but stand-up and show the non-believers that in Christ, I’m strong and can handle anything. Here we’re told the exact opposite. We’re told here that when we hurt, then hurt. When someone passes, grieve. To not be too proud to do these things, but be humble before the Lord, and in that, He WILL lift us up. Wow. This is something too often forgotten or pride is too quickly to step in the way of.

James 4:11-12 – I needed to read this next part, but I also believe than many of my readers need to read this as well:

“11Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”

I am way to quick to judge others, when the reality is, my hands are way too dirty. The spec of dust in my eye, is still in my eye. As humans, we all make mistakes, we hurt one another, we do things we never want to do. Our hearts are pure, are minds lead us differently. Too often, when someone has done something that is against God or hypocritical to what they say, I have been one of the first to judge. It’s not my place. I don’t know their heart, and it benefits nobody if I do judge. Instead, we are called to love, to embrace our brothers and sisters, and walk with them through this. To be sure that the sense of abandonment is not felt, and to affirm them of God’s love and forever saving grace.

James 4:13-17 – This particular line in this scripture touched me:

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

I’m at a place where I know God wants me to do something, yet I’m either scared to do it, or unsure of how to do it. I’m at a stage where I am seeking God’s guidance in every area(which I should do always anyhow), and trusting that He will lead me when its time to be lead. I feel that there are so many things that God is calling for me to do in my life, and for me to ignore that not only should feel wrong, here we’re told that it is wrong.

I have to say, that this weeks scripture hit home a little deeper than last weeks. Not taking away from last weeks, but this particular weeks study seemed to be more “now” for me. Conviction was felt throughout the whole reading. It particularly ended with a verse that I have been praying over for two months now. I don’t know where God is going to lead me today while I read through these small group entries. However, regardless of where He chooses to take me, I am praying that I will be obedient and follow.

It’s your turn, go and write in your blog over this weeks scripture and be a part of this group of bloggers that desire to know more, that refuse to say this is it; what we have learned is all there is. We are pressing on and seeking more, because God has told us that there is more. If you’re unsure of what to do, the original instructions link is below.


[p.s. One of our bloggers that normally participates in the small group is in the hospital for a surgery, and will be skipping these week’s group. Please be praying for her. Take time to go visit her HERE and leave her some refreshing comments. We miss you Jen]

[p.p.s. Don’t forget to link back to here so everyone can go back and forth easily and to leave a comment. Be blessed]

[due to to post your link or see links to others blogs and findings from this weeks scripture, you have to click the Mr Linky icon]


Written by vagabondrunn

May 19, 2008 at 11:43 pm

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] post is part of several other blogs that have joined in on a Blog Small Group. It’s a great way to study God’s word and see what others think at the same […]

  2. Looking forward to reading everyones posts. I’ll be back to read and comment for real later. I wanted to be the first one on the list this time. :))

    Heath Spurlock

    May 20, 2008 at 6:40 am

  3. […] the blogging small group going on over at vagabondrunn.  This week the group is on James 4. Click here to go see all the other links. So, as for my study, here […]

  4. To me “world” goes back to what we learned in chapter 3 about earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. That if we love the “world” more than him, we are living a life of earthly wisdom and we are placing an idol before Him.

    Keep in mind that James is a book of HOPE as well. It is easy to take this book and beat ourselves over the head. James tells all of this in a few short chapters from a person who has been there. Who has lived with Jesus, and finally accepted the truth long after Jesus was gone. He tells us that we all makes mistakes, but the good part is we are starting to realize it. We are starting to change our actions. Our motivation behind our actions are becoming more Christ like. Be encouraged by this book. Be encourage that growth does not happen overnight. Be encouraged that there are others around us to help. Be encourage, yet be aware…


    May 20, 2008 at 9:49 am

  5. First week in, looking forward to the growth. Thanks for the outlet.


    May 20, 2008 at 10:15 am

  6. […] is my installment for the Blogger Small Group post (on chapter 4) and there is still time for anyone to join in if they like (see Blogger Small Group […]

  7. I like your points on arguments and envy. Very true. I always try to think about how when we argue with one another (that is Believer to Believer) one of us is out of God’s will (or perhaps both). Great job, nice post.

    Scott Fillmer

    May 20, 2008 at 10:58 am

  8. […] This is a Blogger Small Group entry in partnership with Run’n Like a Vagabond. […]

  9. I’m finally back into the swing of things. Camp cleanup, house cleanup, potluck & cheerleading….sheesh.

    Envy is something I struggle with hardcore. Especially cars. They are my true LOVE… as far as material things, well and purses.

    BTW – why did you remove your old man face post? It was always convenient for a good laugh


    May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

  10. What does James me by the world in James 4:4? In this passage yes it seems to me the world would be anything that keeps you from God or it could be seeking pleasures at others expense. This is going to be different for each person.

    Heath Spurlock

    May 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm

  11. “Maybe it’s here that he is not helping us define what “the world” is, but more of what “the world” isn’t. James is being lead to give us direct details of what it means to surrender.”

    I think you’ve really hit something here. It’s kind of like the tension between the OT and the NT. Under the Law, there were a bunch of “don’t.” Under NT grace, we are given so many examples of what we should be for rather than what we should be against.

    Jeff M. Miller

    May 21, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  12. great idea! Thanks for sharing!


    May 22, 2008 at 11:29 am

  13. Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes. I’m home and doing fairly well now (trying to take it easy and rest etc).

    I posted my link…and I’m going around to comment soon.

    BUT, I had a hard time with definition of World too. In the end, I think he means the worldly systems, ways…it’s worldly for example to seek power, to be “greedy”, to harbor pride…things like this.

    It all comes down to world vs spirit, right? I’m still trying to figure it out. What I definitely know is that James is not talking about the people of the world…in that instance God is clear that He so loved (the people of the world) that He gave his only Son…

    Still having trouble articulating that. Hope someone gets it.:)


    May 23, 2008 at 11:26 am

  14. […] is my installment for the Blogger Small Group post (on chapter 4) and there is still time for anyone to join in if they like (see Blogger Small Group […]

  15. […] is my installment for the Blogger Small Group post (on chapter 4) and there is still time for anyone to join in if they like (see Blogger Small Group […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: