James 4 - Lesson

Prioritizing God

Lukewarm Faith

If our faith is lukewarm, God will reject us on the day of judgment.  That thought should be a wake-up call for all of us to put God first in our lives, above all other things! 

We will begin today’s lesson with the following warning found in the book of Revelation: 

  • “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:15-16.

God demands that He comes first in our lives.  He does not want to be an afterthought that we reach out to only when we need something, or when we are in trouble.  God wants to be the first thing that we think about when we wake up in the morning, and the last thing we think about before we go to bed.  When we truly understand the enormity of God’s grace and mercy, we will prioritize Him in our thoughts, words, and actions.  Only then can we be right with God. 

PRIORITIZING GOD IN OUR THOUGHTS

As Christians, we are not to be like everybody else.  The world places too much emphasis on money, possessions, and other worldly pleasures.  The Bible teaches us that if we chase after these things, we will become hardened, and eventually we will become enemies of God.  James wrote about this in the third chapter of his epistle:

  • “Friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4.

So what should we be thinking about?   

Paul answers that question in his letter to the Philippians:

  • “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8. 

As Christians, we are not to be of this world.  Through regular Bible study, prayer, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we are to be transformed into servants of God that place Him above all else!

  • “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:2.

PRIORITIZING GOD WITH OUR WORDS

In addition to prioritizing God with our thoughts, we must outwardly confess our love and devotion to Him if we are going to please Him. 

Our thoughts are important to God, but so are our words.  It is through our words that we glorify Him and let others know where we stand.  Our words alone cannot save us, we must confess our belief in Jesus if we are going to be saved:

  • “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” - Romans 10:9-10.

PRIORITIZING GOD WITH OUR ACTIONS

We can have all the faith in the world, and we can confess our love for God and Jesus, but unless our faith compels us to act, it is worthless.  Consider the following scripture:

  • “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?  Even so faith if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” - James 2:14-17.

CONCLUSION

Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law.”  He responded:

  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.” -  Mathew 22:37-38.

There is nothing ambiguous, or lukewarm about His answer.  When Jesus was asked to explain what our highest priority should be, He responded that we are to love God with:

  1. All our heart,
  2. All our soul,
  3. All our mind.

To do this we must prioritize God in our thoughts, words, and actions. 

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture taken from the Gospel of Mark:

  • “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:34-38.

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