God Gives Greater Grace
There are some biblical texts that can feel a bit overwhelming when first read. Someone recently indicated to me that they felt this way on reading James 4:4-6. Continue reading . . .
There are some biblical texts that can feel a bit overwhelming when first read. Someone recently indicated to me that they felt this way on reading James 4:4-6. There James declares that God is jealous for the complete devotion of our hearts (see James 4:4-5). This individual responded by wondering: How can I possibly live a life that won’t provoke God to jealousy? How can I possibly measure up to his expectations of me? James provides the answer in the very next verse: “But he gives more grace [or greater grace]. Therefore, it says, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
The thought is that God’s grace more than supplies what is needed for people to remain faithful to him and not to become friends with the world. God’s demand for loyalty is huge and all-encompassing. But the good news is that his grace is sufficient to enable us to remain true to him. When he says that his grace “is greater” he means greater than the allure and appeal that comes from the world. God requires the full devotion of our hearts and provides us with the grace to embrace and fulfill it.
And what, precisely, is this “grace” of which James speaks? Grace is the living, abiding, energetic, always active, life-changing, sin-killing, pulsating power of God himself at work in the heart of a Christian. And to those who humble themselves rather than give themselves to self-exaltation and sinful pride, God promises to give even more grace than we already experience by virtue of having been born again.
This is a rock-solid and utterly unbreakable promise of God. If you seek him in humility, if you bow in submission to his authority and devote yourself to his praise and honor, he will fill you, flood you, overwhelm and empower you with even greater and unimaginable waves of grace upon grace.
You ask, how is this grace “greater”? In what sense is it “more”? It is greater than all our sin, greater than all our shame, greater than all our failures, greater than any power on earth, greater than any power in heaven, greater than Satan and his demonic hosts, greater than the influence of nations and armies and nuclear arsenals. It is more than enough to sustain you and satisfy you, more than all that this world can provide, more than money can purchase, more than anyone else can give, and so much more than you can ever imagine or envision in your wildest dreams or hopes.
Are you weak? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater than your weakness.
Are you sick in your body? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater than physical affliction.
Are you depressed? Ask for more grace, a grace that is greater than your despair and despondency.
Are you feeling hopeless? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater than all the tragedies and disappointments that have caused you to lose sight of what he will do for his children.
Is your marriage broken? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater than whatever division and anger and unforgiveness may exist in your relationship with your spouse.
Are you in the grip of an addiction? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater than the power of alcohol or drugs or sex.
Are you under the assault of temptation? Ask God for more grace, a grace that is greater in its power to help you resist than the capacity of your flesh to succumb.
Humble yourself before the Lord, and then ask for more grace, greater grace. And he will more than abundantly supply you!