The Opposite

Ken_Spencer_2.27.16I continue to wage the war on my cold. We had an overcast, but pleasant day in Fort Collins. I was pleased to have my former legislative colleague and friend, Spencer Swalm, fight the weekend traffic to come for  a visit. The highlights of the day were, submitting the edited manuscript of my book to begin the formatting and production phase and taking a picture standing on my own, without leaning on crutches, walker, chair, or podium. Perhaps this is the year, the crutches will be left behind.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”  James 4:6,7,10 HCSB)

I recall an episode from the old, “Seinfeld” Comedy program. George Costanza, Jerry’s childhood friend, found a amazing turn around to success in his otherwise challenged life. He did the opposite of his natural inclinations. He wasn’t applying biblical principles and in keeping with the theme of the program his antics were outlandish. However, when I read James’ admonitions that idea of “going against the grain” of our natural tendencies comes to mind.

We admire the strong, confident and self-assured. We will even tolerate the proud. But James says, it is those that God resists. It is those, that when they may attain a level of success, feel self-assured in what “they” have accomplished. They like they don’t need God and they view God is an unnecessary encumbrance in life.

Debbie had an aunt, who married an immigrant soldier of Norwegian descent, shortly after World War II. The couple began life with the normal struggles of the time and the uncle’s immigrant status. However, over the course of the time, Debbie’s uncle, with the help and support of his wife as a partner, started an electronics business. That business became a success. At one time it was recognized as the “Business of the Year” in San Diego. God was far from his consideration and concern. One day, he found himself, depressed and incapable of running his growing business. He found in his striving for success he had shut himself out of any meaningful relationships and friendships that could provide the true support that he needed. When you are a “self-made” man, that is all you have; when you come to a breaking point, you have nowhere to go.

James solution and advice is to, “be humble..draw near to God…submit to God.” That’s pretty simple, but you will find it hard to do; it is the “opposite” of our natural inclination. But when we follow God’s plan we find the “wind of life” filling our sails. We live in a position of grace, we have victory over Satan and we have God’s presence and we have God’s promotion. We learn that much of what we desire in our life is found in yielding our life to God and His plan and purpose.

You will find it is better to “submit to God” than to to submit to Satan. What did Satan do? He resisted God, he exalted himself, he went his “own” way. Submitting to God enables us to yield our lives to the Lord in a way that is for our good. Don’t play, “hide and seek” with God. Place the Lord at the center of your life and all that you do.

A legislator missed, my morning prayer at the Capitol this last week. She told me she doesn’t participate because, “she goes to her church on Sunday, and comes to ‘work’ on Monday. I don’t mix my ‘religion’ and politics.” I didn’t respond, but in my mind I thought, “that’s too bad.” I found when making difficult decisions that impact an entire State, you don’t want to rely on just “human” wisdom.

James’ entire sequence is built on the concept, “God resists the proud, but give grace to to humble.” When we realize that and desire God’s grace, we submit to God, draw near to God and humble ourselves before the Lord. When we do that, even when it is the opposite of our natural inclinations, we are never disappointed.