“For we all stumble in many ways,” James wrote (3:2).
Amen to that. Most Christians I know are quite aware of the myriad ways they fall short.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but James is on a bit of a negative kick. He accuses his Christian readers of lusting, fighting, and coveting. He insinuates that they’re selfish, then—if that wasn’t enough—he calls them adulterers.
He doesn’t seem very happy, does he?
I’m glad there’s this next verse, because it brings us back to the place we all need to be:
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Isn’t that beautiful? He gives more grace.
We all stumble in many ways, but he gives more grace.
Every day we fall short, but he gives more grace.
We struggle and fall and get up and fall again, but he gives more grace.
It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Romans 5:20: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” All of us need a lot of that grace, don’t we? It’s good that it’s not a finite resource.
But notice the last part of James’ thought: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
One thing will put a barrier between us and God’s grace, and that’s pride. Pride makes us think that we don’t need God, that we’re doing pretty well on our own. Pride trusts in our own righteousness, our own ability to be good, do good, and look good. Pride emphasizes self over God, works over grace, appearance over substance.
So in James’ statement there’s a tremendous promise, but also a warning.
God gives more grace to anyone willing to accept it—what an incredible blessing!
But he withholds it from the proud—nothing could be worse.
Today, let’s pray something like this:
Father, remove all traces of pride from our hearts and fill us with your humility. Though we’re not worthy, please give us more grace. Never oppose us. Never reject us. Keep us humble and within your will. We ask this through Jesus. Amen.