9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. - James 4:9-10
These are verses that cause newer believers pause when they first pass over them. They did for me. I remember thinking, what? I thought giving my life over to Christ was supposed to be better. I thought I was supposed to be blessed now, happier, more joyful. Why would God want me to mourn and weep? Why wouldn’t he want me to laugh and be joyful?
As I did far too often when I was a new believer, I passed right over these verses and dismissed them because I didn’t understand them. I didn’t take the time to drill down on them as I should have, so I missed the instruction in them for a long time.
James writes these words just after he instructs us to cleanse our hands and hearts from our sin. In order to live in a right relationship with God, to enjoy that peace and contentment, to know true joy and laughter, we need to acknowledge and repent of our sins. We cannot truly repent of our sins unless we see it as God sees it. James is desperately tying to get us to see our sin as God sees our sin in this passage. When we place the things of this world over God, we make ourselves an enemy of God. That should pierce our soul to the very depths with grief. When we take the time to truly look into our hearts at what causes the conflicts and quarrels in our lives, and we seek the self-focus that lies deep within us, our hearts should mourn at the way we replace Him with our own passions and desires. We should weep at the way we destroy and kill relationships in our lives because of our own selfish desires. It should wreck us.
The beautiful part of our relationship with the Lord is that when we humble ourselves before the Lord - when we fall to our knees and weep over the ugliness of our sin - He exalts us. When we go beyond just acknowledging our sin, but we are truly broken over our wrongs - to Him and to the people in our lives - He will lift us up. It is then that we find that peace and joy and laughter.
Far too often, our pride gets in the way of this process. We may be able to get to the place of recognizing our sin, but we generally don’t let Him take us to a place of true brokenness over our sin. Our pride will justify our sin for one reason or another - she deserved it, he started it, I was having a rough day. We see that we were wrong, but we quickly attach an excuse to our sin. We resist becoming truly broken over our sin because that’s a hard place to go. We have to be vulnerable and allow our heart to grieve, And it’s hard for us to allow that kind of pain into our lives. So, we keep ourselves distracted and we ignore it, thinking that acknowledging it is good enough.
Allow Him to take you to the place of deep mourning over your sin, allow him to show you how He sees your sin. While it is painful for the moment, there is such joy that follows. He will exalt you because he loves you.
Press on ~ you are loved💗
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