Passage of the Day: James 4: 9a – Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
My Journal for Today: MacArthur begins his devotional for this date in Strength for Today by looking further into the essence of humility needed for the believer to plum the depths of God’s grace; and he writes, “… spiritual humility will be marked by a true sorrow over sin.” And that is what James intends as he writes, “Grieve, mourn, and wail …” in today’s verse. The truly humble and mature believer hates his/her own sin and grieves over the sin exercised or perceived in the world. As James points out, this can be agony to the point of profound grief, even mourning and wailing under certain circumstances, especially those where a Christian has been convicted by his/her own sinful behavior.
I lead a ministry, Battle Plan Ministry [see www.battleplanministries.org] where men have come to recognize and take responsibility for their own sexual sin, sometimes repeated patterns of such things as pursuing internet p0rnography or serial infidelity; and these men become deeply convicted and broken over their sin; and I could imagine them weeping and mourning over ill-begotten choices, which may, for those married brothers, caused serious damage to their marriage relationships and/or parenting [for those with children]. Sin recognized and repented of can – and should – cause great remorse and mourning if the Christian is truly repentant and desires cleansing and radical transformation to a life marked by Christlikeness.
The Apostle Paul also wrote about Godly sorrow when he wrote to the church in Corinth where he noted being glad to see of their genuine sorrow over their sin. See 2nd Cor. 7: 10 – 11 below.
SCRIPTURE: 2ndCor. 7: 10 - 11… Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
Here Paul is correctly pointing out that the humble unsaved person must come to a place, as did I in 1983, where there is genuine sorrow in humiliation and repentance for that one’s sinfulness – and earnestness and eagerness in grief over this sin, recognizing to some degree the death [i.e., separation from God] caused by self-directed and sinful thoughts, choices, and behaviors. It is only in the HUMILITY, … actually, humiliation …, of such a moment can a lost person be broken by the prevenient grace that is calling him toward a relationship or closeness to God. Only then can he receive God’s saving grace to be born from above. Only then, can a converted Christian become truly convicted and repentant and turn from his/her wicked ways, capturing God’s enabling grace to be shaped into Christ’s image.
Both Paul and James knew that HUMBLY surrendering to God’s conviction (from His prevenient grace) would involve a certain degree of misery, leading to true repentance, … which, ultimately leads to a walk of directed obedience and to the joy and peace produced by such a humble transformation from selfish non-believer … to convicted believer … to obedient Christian.
Yes, true humility can and will involve some degree of pain; … but, as the saying goes, “No pain, … no gain!”
My Prayer Today: Lord, I remember you saying, as you did to a sin-ridden church, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him and he with Me.” Lord, help me to see my sin, grieve, and then to open the door to let You come in and be with me. Amen