Humility and the Satisfied Life
Friday - February 26th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 4:1-10
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
A study by researchers in Copenhagen a few years ago discovered that people who engage on social media regularly indicate they have high rates of dissatisfaction in life compared to those who are occasionally on social media or not on social media at all. Researchers discovered the highest rates of dissatisfaction in life came from those who "lurk" on social media. They don't post or interact with others. They simply see what others are posting.
Our perception that others have it better than we do has changed forever. Social media has radically changed what we know about each other. One of the significant problems with social networks like TikTok, FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram is that we only see what people post of their lives - not their actual lives. Few post terrible sunsets, pictures of their toddlers throwing a fit, or a video of a heated argument they had with their spouses.
When we "lurk" on social media, we begin to believe other people have better things, stronger marriages, more beautiful and well-behaved children, and more stunning sunsets than we do. Those whose pages we view often believe the same thing about us. Dissatisfaction with life gets overwhelming when we think others have it better than we do AND that we deserve what they have - maybe as much or more than they do.
Disdain for others and desperation to get what we want leads us to a self-absorbed focus. That focus breeds arrogance in us. We lose perspective of who we are in relationship to God and others. James addresses that in the fourth chapter of the New Testament Book with his name as the title. James 4:1-10 deals with our envy for what others have and enjoy. It demonstrates how desperate and distracted we get in our relationship with others, but ultimately how far we get from our God.
"You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God" (James 4:2). Notice in our passion for having what we think we must have to be satisfied in life, we hurt others, and we leave God out of our lives.
Our unquenchable desires for what we want emerge as arrogance and pride. James tells us twice in this paragraph that humility is the way to restoration with those we hurt and with the Lord. "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble" (James 4:6). "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up" (James 4:10).
Do you feel like you don't get what you deserve in life? Do you look at other people and believe you ought to have their marriages, careers, or sunsets? Has your dissatisfaction led to disdain for others and drift away from your God?
Memorize James chapter four, verses six and ten. Meditate on how God gives favor or grace to the humble. Choose to humble yourself before the Lord and let Him lift you up in His way and His timing.
When our selfish desires consume us, we arrogantly set ourselves up for dissatisfied and miserable lives.