He opposes the one, but he gives grace/favor when the other is present.
[NOTE: You may wish to look at the verses in this entire section about JAMES & PETER, before you start answering the questions.]
God does not always have to use "supernatural intervention" in order to oppose or to give grace. He often uses the circumstances in one's life in order to accomplish his purposes. The principle stated in these verses will reach its ultimate fulfillment at the final day of justice, but even now it can often be seen. Many of the verses in the book of Proverbs (which James and Peter quote from) illustrate this principle, as it applies to the present life.
You may want to glance through some of the Proverbs before you think about the following questions.
What are some ways that the humble are favored, or receive gracious kindness from God? What are some of the ways the proud are opposed?
Taking into consideration your own attitude (pride or humility), as well as the issues mentioned in the book of Proverbs, what is happening to you? Do you have a need to focus on the command found in the next section?
It will affect our relationship both with God and with people.
Being under God's "mighty hand" can be comforting or terrifying, depending on whether we are his friend or his enemy! In this instance (in James & Peter), it is so that he can lift / exalt us at the right time (see next section). What does it mean to you, for you to humble yourself before him or under his mighty hand? In other words, what effect will it have on your life and attitude? Are there some specific issues that you need to deal with in your life? (If so, what are they? Deal with them! Don't forget them, like the person mentioned in James 1:22-25!)
How can / will you "clothe yourself" with humility toward others? (Focus on specific actions / attitudes you need in your life.) If necessary, reflect on Colossians 3:12 (in the first section of this study), which focuses on the idea of "clothing" one's self with humility.
How do the commands in this section reflect the two greatest commands mentioned in Matthew 22:36-40?
We will be lifted-up by God
** If you "lower" yourself, he will "raise" you!
The phrase "in due time" is very important. This explains why it doesn't always happen when WE want it to. At times, the "due time" may even be in eternity... but it WILL come! What does this teach us about the need for patience and faith / trust?
What does "lift you up" mean? In what way does God's "lifting us up" contrast with our "lifting ourselves up"?
What are some other reasons that we ought to humble ourselves before God? (For example, who is God, compared to us?) Try to find some other verses which describe or illustrate the attitude we ought to have toward God. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 is a good place to start.)
There are types of pride and boasting that are acceptable to God. (Read 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:4, for three examples. See also James 1:9-10, in the next section.) How are these different from the pride mentioned in the verses in this section - the type God condemns?
OPTIONAL: Read the article "Comments About the Proverbs," to explore the way the Proverbs apply to our daily lives. [The article also looks at issues such as injustice - times in which it doesn't appear that these principles are being fulfilled.]
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Dennis Hinks © 1998