It is so hard for us to disentangle our affections from this world system and transfer them to the One who created us and redeemed us. James writes in his “in your face” letter that too many followers of Jesus are adulterous — choosing daily to pursue intimacy with the world instead of him. And he reminds us that our holy God has a holy jealousy for us. What then is the answer? How can we pursue Christ above all things?
James answers that question in his letter: more grace. God gives more grace from his unlimited supply. The story is told of an artist who submitted a painting of Niagara Falls to an art gallery, but didn’t give it a title. The gallery needed one, so they titled the work, “More to come.” I like that. Billions of gallons of water rush over the falls every year but there’s more to come. Saying, “I don’t know if God can teach me how to love Him more than I love anything else” is like standing under Niagara Falls and saying, “I don’t know if there’s enough water here to satisfy my thirst.” He gives more grace, a bounteous supply, to help us love and follow Him. Augustine prayed, “Give me the grace to do as You command, and command me to do what You will.” Where do we need more of God’s grace? Here are a few suggestions.
We need God’s grace for our battles with the flesh. Do you continue to struggle with the same sin? God gives more grace. Are you drowning in selfishness to the point that you might say, “If I didn’t think about myself, I’d think nothing at all”? He gives more grace. Are you as stubborn as a mule and your reflex position is that everyone else is wrong, but you’re always right? He gives more grace. Are you consumed with resentment and tormented by a lack of forgiveness, longing to know that the other person who hurt you suffers as much as you do? God gives more grace.
We need God’s grace for our burdens. Are you going through a physical trial? God gives more grace. Are you struggling in a bad marriage? He gives more grace. Have you suffered an inconsolable loss and your heart continues to break over it? God gives more grace.
God gives us grace for our blessings, or our beginnings. Is He calling you to do something new for his sake, an outreach in your neighborhood, a ministry in the church? He gives more grace. Is he urging you to start having family devotions, or start praying with and for your wife, or start memorizing Scripture, or start giving to the church, or even to start coming to service on time? God gives more grace. Is he whispering in your heart that you can mentor a younger believer? He gives more grace. Or is he asking you to read more and watch less, to exercise more and eat less, to show hospitality more, to pray more, to witness more? He gives more grace.
This is great news for me and you, dear reader. But be careful of this truth: God gives grace to the humble.
He stiff-arms the proud, because they don’t acknowledge that they need him. “I got this!” is the proud man’s motto, and “I can do this on my own!” is tattooed on his soul. A proud man or woman is a stranger to grace. But to those who know they need him, God’s grace is life and breath and freedom.
Why wait? Admit today your need for more of God’s grace.