George Washington Carver, the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut, once remarked, “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is reserved for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.”
Humility is a virtue God wants to develop in all of us because it’s a certain mark of maturity. This Sunday we’ll be looking at James 4:1-12 where the apostle points out how the pride in immature believers leads to quarrels and conflicts. Read it for yourself.
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?
Did you notice the language of conflict James uses in this passage? He’s clearly pointing out that immature believers tend to be contentious and divisive when they don’t get their way. A clear evidence of the absence of humility.
James also notes how immature believers wage war on three different realms: war with themselves, war with others, and war with God. At the heart of every fight and conflict we experience, is the presence of pride.
I look forward to digging into this passage on Sunday, as we pursue the Mark of Humility in our lives!