Proud or Humble? Respond the Right Way Every Time

When I think of Jesus, I think of a strong man. He was physically strong – a “carpenter” in those days was like a very strong construction worker today. He was emotionally strong – He never had a “meltdown.” He was mentally strong, able to answer even the most perplexing questions thrown at Him by the scholars of His time. And He was spiritually strong, living a life of purity in every way, and always staying right in line with God’s will.

If anyone had a reason to be proud – even prideful – of His abilities, it was Jesus.

But He wasn’t.

Instead, He chose humility. And so should we.

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

God resists the proud. But He gives grace to the humble. And not just a little grace. He gives greater grace!

Read each of the passages from James chapter 4 listed below. After each passage, think about and respond to the questions that are asked. If you’d like to hear a podcast that goes along with this lesson, CLICK HERE.

GOD OFFERS HELP TO THOSE WHO ARE FIGHTING

What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. (James 4:1-2a)

  • According to these verses, what is the source of the wars and fights among you — the other person or you?
  • Read James 4:6 again: But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 
  • Describe how responding to a “fighting” situation in either a proud way or a humble way will make a difference in the outcome.

GOD OFFERS HELP TO THOSE WHO’S PRAYERS SEEM UNANSWERED

You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. (James 4:2b-3)

  • According to v 2, what is one possible reason that a person may not be getting what they think they need?
  • According to v 3, what is another reason that a person may not be getting what they think they need?
  • But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 
  • What is the difference in how a proud person prays compared to how a humble person prays?

GOD OFFERS HELP TO THOSE WHO ARE TOO FRIENDLY WITH THE WORLD

Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously? (James 4:4-5)

  • What does it mean for a person to be a “friend of the world”?
  • Why is a friend of the world an enemy of God?
  • What does it mean that God’s Spirit that lives in us yearns jealously?
  • But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 
  • How does a humble Christ-follower relate to the world’s system?

GOD OFFERS HELP TO THOSE WHO ARE LOSING BATTLES WITH THE DEVIL

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. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:7-10)

  • At the cross, and through the resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan! When you placed your trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you received the power of the living Christ inside you. What that means is that you can be victorious every single time, over every temptation that the devil throws your way.
  • But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 
  • Describe the process in James 4:7-10 of how a humble yet bold follower of Christ will stand up against the temptations of the devil, the kind of standing that makes the devil flee!

GOD OFFERS HELP TO THOSE WHO ARE CRITICIZING OTHERS

11 Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)

  • In Matthew 7:1-6, Jesus warns us about being judgmental. Here in James 4:11-12, we are warned to not be judgmental and critical of others.
  • However, in 1 Corinthians 2:15, we learn that believers in Christ are able to clearly make judgments about what is right and wrong. And in Galatians 6:1-5 we see the delicate process of approaching someone who is caught up in sin, trying to help them to return to faithfulness to Christ.
  • But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 
  • Think about Jesus and how He interacted with people, all of whom were sinners. What does Jesus’ example and the teaching of James 4:11-12 and the other passages listed above (Mt 7:1-6, 1 Cor 2:15, Gal 6:1-5) teach us about how to humbly relate to others as a Christ-follower?
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace, your abundant grace. It humbles me to think of how much you love me and how you shower your grace upon me. By your Spirit, help me to respond with humility – never with pride – every single time.
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