The greatest challenge to loving God supremely is the constant battle we have with loving ourselves. It is the love of self that leads to innumerable sins. James paints a vivid picture of our problem.
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Notice how many times the word you and your are used. We can be so focused on ourselves. We can be easily offended, we can want our own way, we want to spend our time the way we want.
It is interesting that James links this love of self to friendship with the world.
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
When we love ourselves more than we love God, we find ourselves in a hostile relationship with God. In fact, James says that anyone who “wishes” to be a friend of the world – that is, they desire to pursue their own pleasures – is an enemy of God.
But James also gives us hope!
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
God extends grace that makes it possible for us to live in a manner that pleases Him. His grace is greater than the worldly desires that can plague us. His grace makes it possible for us to live in humility. Let’s face it, apart from God’s grace we would all live perpetually sinful lives. But we don’t have to because of the grace of God.
Take time to reflect on the truth that the grace of God that leads to salvation is the same grace that leads to sanctification. Our faithful God is so generous!
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