However, sin never brings happiness—the state of inner delight, blessedness, and contentment wherein there is no room for greed or covetousness. Christians know moments of happiness, when we are alone in the presence of God, in fellowship with Him, and it is enough to know our sins have been forgiven. But soon we forget and we’re worrying about the bills. Suddenly, we say, “If I just had a little bit more money, if I just had a better car, if I just had a nicer house, I’d finally be happy.”
After explaining conflict’s source, James reveals what ends it and brings true happiness:
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6–7, 10)
Humility is the secret to a happy life. What is humility? Scripture does not say the humble person is Mr. Milquetoast, the wishy-washy person, the spineless man who is a doormat for the world; rather, the humble person is one who fears God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and such fear flows from a heart that is in awe of God and bows to His authority.
The opposite of humility is arrogance. To think God owes us every pleasure we want manifests an unspeakable arrogance that presumes to critique God’s provision for us. Every time we start fighting over what we don’t have, our struggle is ultimately with the Lord. Is anything more foolish than warring with God? Opposition from God is opposition with a capital O. He’s the last being I want to have opposing me. God opposes the proud, so we need to get this maxim from James into our souls: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
If there’s anything that we ought to be in a passionate quest to achieve, it’s the grace of God. By definition, grace is not something you can earn. You can receive grace only if God in His mercy gives it to you. It’s a gift. You can’t buy, earn, or merit it. God gives grace to the humble because they understand the graciousness of grace. Humility willingly submits one’s life to God’s sovereign mercy. Humble people recognize that the Lord doesn’t owe them anything.
Do we want more grace? Let’s try a little more humility. Do we seek less opposition from God? Let’s do away with our pride. We must remember that we are unworthy servants throwing ourselves on the mercy of the court. When we enter God’s presence and demand that He give us something or try to persuade Him to give us something as if we were His counselors who advise Him of a better way of doing things, we’ve entered into His presence not boldly as the Bible calls us to do, but arrogantly. We must come to Him in thanksgiving and praise for the grace we’ve already received. The more humble we are, the more grace we get. The prouder we are, the more God opposes us.