Intolerance of God, Part 2

James 4:4-6: “4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”

In this passage, we see how God is intolerant of two heart attitudes.

In the last post, we saw how God is intolerant of rivals. He wants to be first place in our life. Today, we see the second heart attitude that God is intolerant of. Pride.

God is intolerant of PRIDE

Scripture says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Opposes/resists: military term for getting arranged for battle. Can you picture God getting arranged for battle? What resources does He have at His disposal? Do you want to try to stand against God’s opposing forces?

Pride: feelings of unwarranted importance. These are those “look at me” moments in life.

Humble: gentle, lowly,

The greatest example of pride in the Bible is Satan, and our greatest example of humility is Jesus Christ.

Let me share with you some “proverbs” that flow throughout the book of James. They are warnings against pride and arrogance:

•           “Arrogant eyes” are at the top of the list of seven things the Lord hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-19).

•           Pride leads to disgrace and humility leads to wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).

•           Humility leads to honor (Proverbs 15:33).

•           Pride leads to a downfall (Proverbs 18:12).

•           “Haughty eyes and an arrogant heart” indicate sin (Proverbs 21:4).

•           Mocking others is a reflection of “excessive pride” (Proverbs 21:24).

•           Humility leads to godly fear (Proverbs 22:4).                    

•           Pride will ultimately humble a person (Proverbs 29:23).

Pride cheats God of the honor and glory due Him.

When we act independently of God, it reminds Him of Satan, the ultimate do-it-yourself guy. 

These two heart attitudes can also be considered idols. We don’t think in these terms here in the United States much because we don’t have little golden calves. Satan has been more discreet with the idols we are presented with today.

Webster provides two definitions of idolatry: 

1. The worship of idols, images, or anything made by hands, or which is not God. Idolatry is of two kinds; the worship of images, statues, pictures, &c. made by hands; and the worship of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon and stars, or of demons, angels, men and animals.

2. Excessive attachment or veneration for anything, or that which borders on adoration.

Since our idols are the things we treasure and value more than Jesus, we discover them by honestly asking what gives our life meaning, worth, and value.  Look at the table below. Which of these idols give your life meaning?  What are the things you treasure that give your life value and worth? 

Power IdolApproval Idol
strength (exerted)
social circles
Security IdolComfort Idol
From Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood

As you can see, even if water and oil appear to be mixed, they separate themselves because water is intolerant of oil. As vibrant followers of Christ, we are to be intolerant of the worldly system. We are to be intolerant of anything inside of us that sets itself up in opposition or rebellion to God. 

Christ has overcome the world, and with His power and by His grace, as we rest in Him, we will overcome the world too. 

The oil in our passages are rivals in our heart and pride in our heart.

So, what can we do?

1. Learn how to live in the world without being of the world. We are sojourners, or travelers in this world. We need to travel through this world without being stained. This doesn’t mean we withdraw to a monastery and become hermits. We engage the world with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We daily submit our lives to the One who is able to keep us pure. We use the common sense that God has given us; if we have a problem with alcohol, we avoid bars; if we struggle with lust, we stay out of adult entertainment stores; if we struggle with drugs, we stay away from the dealers. God has given us a brain, use it for His glory, don’t let Satan control it. Ask God to show you where you are living in the world, confess, and REPENT.

2. Accept God’s GRACE! Grace is the driving force behind our salvation, sanctification, and security.

We are saved by grace. God is overloaded with it! God never runs out of grace. God’s grace is able to overcome our unfaithfulness. When our heart strays, it is God’s grace that brings us back and God’s grace that forgives.

Some questions to consider:

-What are some idols in your life?

-Why is God intolerant of pride?

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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