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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 28 ~ Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

Day 28 ~ Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

James 4:6-8 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The last two days James has shown us the dangers of falling in love with the world. Today, with one simple phrase, James proclaims how God is greater than all the empty promises that the world spits at us: "But He gives us more grace." God gives more grace. The world gives more demands, more expectations, more vain promises. God makes promises full of grace and mercy. The gifts the world gives never satisfy. Worldly pursuits always leave us unsatisfied, desiring more. God graciously gives us all we need in Jesus Christ!

The world and the devil are working together in this. The devil will promise you the world! But he is a liar and cannot give what he promises. He won't do it. He tells you he has your best interests in mind, but really he hates you and wants you dead. So, the devil will never let you arrive anywhere, he will never let you find satisfaction. It is no accident that the same Rolling Stones who sang "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" also sang "Sympathy for the Devil." Satan will always tell you that you could have more, do more, be more than you already are. He says, "You are worthless. You aren't living life to the fullest. You aren't even doing enough for God. How could He love you if you can't love him enough?" The devil is our accuser who is always looking for our destruction. He is always trying to distract us from the sufficiency of Christ, who gives more grace!

But Christ has silenced the devil. When John wrote the Revelation and was describing the victory of Christ's cross, he said this of the devil, "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 'Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down'" (Rev. 12:10). Satan has been defeated, hurled down, by the blood of Christ. His accusations against you have been silenced as Christ's death paid for your sins and has removed your guilt. The death of Jesus is sufficient. He gives more grace. We have God's gracious smile always upon us because Christ has sufficiently done everything to save us. We can approach God with clean hands and a pure heart because Christ's nail-pierced hands and spear-pierced heart satisfied God's wrath! Let us resist the devil and his accusations and submit to God in Christ! For he gives more grace!

Confession: Heavenly Father, I confess that I often times feel as though Christ is not enough for me. I fear that I have sinned too much to be saved. I fear that I haven't done enough to get to heaven. I believe the lies of the devil that would distract me from your promises that tell me Jesus has taken away all of my sins and his righteousness has been granted to me as a gift. Forgive my doubt and grant me faithful trust! AMEN.

Challenge: Throughout this series, you may have begun to feel guilty because you have not completed all the challenges. You may have even worried that you weren't a very good Christian because of your lack of effort. Your sufficiency is in Christ! Whatever challenges you have not yet fulfilled are cancelled for you. Today's challenge is to forget the challenges you have not yet completed.

Pastor Bob

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