Humility in Practice
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Bracketed off by calls to humility (verse 6 and verse 10), the section we’re in this morning issues two commands accompanied by one powerful promise: God draws near to the humble. To the broken, contrite and soft-hearted, God pours out His grace. Conversely, we’re told that God opposes the proud and stiff-necked. But how do we cultivate the sort of humility God favors? And what does it look like practically?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What are some “attributes” that we often mistake for humility? Why does God look unfavorably on those poor substitutes?
2. What is genuine humility?
3. Why should Christians be wary of the devil? Why, though, do we need not fear him?
4. Why is it so meaningful that God “draws near” to those who draw near to Him (verse 8)? How is God’s presence a comfort to you personally?
5. Read verse 10. Is James saying there’s no place for joy in the life of the Christian? If not, what is he getting at?
6. What is biblical repentance? Have you cultivated a pattern of confession and repentance in your life? How so?
1. When we suggest that the conditions in scripture related to grace aren’t real conditions “we employ insipid, pious jargon.”
2. 01. A humble heart is a submissive heart.
3. “James is not issuing a rallying cry for believers to be engaged in dramatic spiritual warfare on every front. While there are definitely times and places for intense, concerted prayer against the enemy and even for casting out demons, some people take this verse to imply that they ought to fight Satan’s dominion in their lives over the slightest headache.” – Craig Blomberg
4. 02. A humble heart is a (Kingdom) focused heart.
5. “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” – Deuteronomy 4:7
6. 03. A humble heart is a dependent heart.
7. “The hope of the Christian faith is dependent on God’s display of strength, not ours. God is in the business of destroying our idol of self-sufficiency in order to reveal himself as our sole sufficiency. This is God’s way—he kills in order to make alive; he strips us in order to give us new clothes. He lays us flat on our back so that we’re forced to look up. God’s office of grace is located at the end of our rope. The thing we least want to admit is the one thing that can set us free: the fact that we’re weak.”
8. “Appreciate your wretchedness and weep for it in misery.” – James 4:9 NJB
9. 04. A humble heart is a repentant heart.
10. “When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, since Christ died for sinners.” – Martin Luther