Submit yourselves, then, to God. (James 4:7)

Have you ever been the recipient of a directive without instructions? If the boss says, “Do this,” but you’ve never done “this” before, you find yourself in limbo, at a loss for even your first move.

Imagine James told us not to be proud (James 4:6), then just moved on to his next topic. We would stand there asking, “How?” Praise God for these ten commands so we know how to put away pride and pursue humility.

Note the action words James employed. None of them requires external movement. Even “wash your hands” is meant figuratively (compare to Ps. 24:4). Like so much of our spiritual growth, humility is not achieved by marking things off a checklist.

And we do not follow these instructions one time and then never need them again. After all, no one says, “OK, I washed my hands today. I never have to do that again.” We must embrace these heart attitudes—even when they are painful—by the power and grace of God.

Be encouraged! Others may not immediately notice heart-changes, but God sees each incremental shift (1 Sam. 16:7) that draws us away from covetousness (James 4:2) and the influence of the world (v. 4). But why do this? Why go through the mental pain of grieving, mourning, and wailing (v. 9)? Because such debasement actually elevates us in God’s economy (v. 10).

Choose one of these commands to focus on this week.

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word and how it impacts our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives and writes in East Tennessee.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.