Katie Schmidt is the Content Coordinator at Summit Church.
“You do not have because you do not ask God.” —James 4:2
I am a very big fan of self-sufficiency. If I can do something for myself, I will do it with gusto, and if I can’t do something for myself, that something will likely just go undone. Truly, I would rather neglect something of importance than express any sort of reliance on someone else.
I wish I could say that this very special brand of neurosis finds its exception at the cross of Jesus, but, alas, I’m just as likely to keep him at arm’s length than anyone else who’s attempting to show me love through genuine kindness and generosity. Probably more so because he loves me deeper and with more sacrifice than any random human offering to hold the door and looking at me, perplexed, as I insist “no, no, I got it!” while all the groceries in my hands slip further from my grip.
So, yes, James 4 is a hard read for me. It’s a lot about asking God for things and submitting ourselves to him. I have no fundamental problem with people seeking God and going to him in prayer as they attempt to navigate this broken world—I think that sounds really great and is likely what we all ought to be doing—it’s just a little foreign to me. Even though I feel in my bones that desire to lean into God and trust his goodness, I’m prone to defy it, to continue to solely rely on my own capabilities until I inevitably burn out, feel defeated, or drop my Bagel Bites. Though admittedly misguided, I suppose I’ve subconsciously always viewed prayer as just so needy. And I don’t want to be needy.
But the more encounters I have with Scripture, the more encounters I have through prayer, the more encounters I have with Jesus, the more I’m coming to see prayer as less about God delivering things for me and more about him already establishing himself as the deliverer of me. That the desire I have for relationship with and reliance on him is matched in his desire for me to drop the act, resist the lure of my own pride, and rest in him.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” —James 4:10
How did James 4 impact you today?
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