Meditations on James 4:1-10

I’m reading a new book on God’s battle plan for the mind about meditation on His Word. So far it does a good job of explaining what is wrong with far eastern meditation and what is different and right about biblical meditation. Meditation should be intentional, considering God’s word, and lead to practical application. Sunday morning during the sermon on James 4:1-10 I was meditating on the scripture and taking pastor Lee’s preaching into consideration as he moved through the verses.
To remind you, here are those verses.

James 4:1-12 (ESV)

1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

My first contemplation was actually that these verses describe a family member who is struggling with anger, a sense of being a victim. He occasionally gives in to the fallacy that destroying someone else’s day by accusing them (again) of ruining his life and betraying his trust will make him feel better. When we refuse to participate in that activity, he then feels victimized by us because we don’t understand him or support him.

I wanted to explain these verses to him and help him understand that he will continue to suffer until he stops thinking of himself as a victim and wanting some form of reparations from all the people who have hurt him intentionally or accidentally. He desires but doesn’t know how to ask, he covets but what he wants is not well defined and not biblical. Revenge or inflicting pain on someone else is not the way to healing.

But the point to listening to a sermon or reading scripture is not to think of all the other people that need it. I turned my thoughts to myself and thought of times I get frustrated or pick a fight with Anthony. I realized one area where I have strife and quarreling is my failing independence. Since the surgeries in May I have been increasing my independence and doing things for myself more and more. It’s easier, it’s comforting, and it gives me a sense that I’m still a capable person, not an invalid.

But the neuropathy is now taking away some of my independence. I can’t button a shirt or sweater very quickly. I may or may not be able to get a necklace on or off. My weak hands can’t open some Tupperware or packages. The other night I really wanted to get into a covered bowl of food but after struggling for 5 minutes I just could not get the lid off, Jim and Madeleine were right upstairs so all I had to do was take that bowl to one of them to get it open but instead I threw it back in the fridge and said never mind. I’m having to use my teeth to open one of the packages I uses for my TPN every night. There has actualy been someone else in the house every time I’ve done that but I won’t ask them for help.

Plus, my ileostomy bag has leaked once a week for the past two months. In fact, it leaked between that last paragraph and this one. And it is messy and frustrating that no matter how careful I am and how many times I go to the bathroom, it still goes crazy and leaks on me.

While thinking about these verses and these frustrations on Sunday I started to cry, seeing my sin and my self reliance causing me to rebel and allow frustration to get the upper hand and not being humble enough to let others help me when they are more than willing to do anything for me, and all I need is something as simple as opening something for me.

Tears of anger at another leak or a recalcitrant container need to give way to tears of repentance and gratitude at all God has given me. He has given me life. He’s given me wonderful friends, lots of them. He’s given me doctors who can give me a pretty good quality of life. He asks me to turn to Him, rely on Him, and trust Him.

I believe, help my unbelief. I trust You, increase my faith. I love You, help me love You more. I need you, help me admit my reliance on You. I rest in You, ease my restlessness. Thank you, increase my gratitude for all You are and all You give me.

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