James 5:1-6 ESV
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.”
America, right now, is still a wealthy nation, but it won’t be forever. And it is where I live, so I speak of what I know, not of what I don’t know. So if you live somewhere other than in America, then let the Lord apply this to your situation however it applies. And I am going to share with you the practical application the Lord gave me of this passage of Scripture to my world today here in America.
Pornography addiction is a very big thing here in America, even within the gatherings of what is called “church.” Statistics have it that as high as 75% of men who call themselves Christians are those who view pornography. Women do, too, but they are fewer in numbers. The number of young boys viewing porn is also high with young girls at lower numbers, but still this is impacting the children of my nation, and that is heartbreaking.
So, in this case, the “gold,” i.e. the treasure is these images of women on the screen in compromising situations. And for men who are up there in years, the girls are getting younger and younger to where they are now the ages of their granddaughters. And there are men and women who have been viewing porn for many years, even most of their lives, for they are sexual addicts. And one who is addicted to porn is a slave to sin, without Christ.
And so their porn addiction (their gold) is the evidence against them that will eat their flesh like fire. For this is their treasure that they have laid up in the last days. Although they profess faith in Jesus Christ and belief in the gospel, and they are involved in institutional churches, though perhaps not all of them are, they are living a lie in secret where no one else can see what they are doing. So, they are living secret lives from their spouses and from the church.
On the outside they give off an image of being Christians, even having devotions, praying, doing things Christians should do, but they are the self-indulgent who are addicted to sin who are actually, by their lifestyles, opposing and contradicting God/Jesus and his gospel and his gospel’s messengers, too. And it is in this state of opposing God that they are able to engage in viewing pornography and lusting after these young women.
These women on the screen are usually perfect (or nearly perfect) in body and they are seen as the ideal woman for the man of lust, who meets his every fantasy of what he thinks he wants in a woman, and no spouse is going to be able to compete with that. And so the spouses are rejected and pushed aside in favor of the women on the screen who meet the man’s every fantasy. And these wives are thus those crying out to God.
For, although many of these men, and some women, claim that God is the one in authority over their minds, it isn’t God who is in control over their minds, for they have shifted that control to self and to the flesh and to the lusts of the flesh. And their spouses are being left out in the cold, so to speak, for the one who lusts after another is an adulterer who is living independent and separate from his/her spouse by his/her actions.
And those who are calling themselves Christians, and who appear to be going through the motions of Christianity, but who are living a lie, and who are sinning in secret, especially against their spouses, have murdered their spouses in the sense that hate is murder, and deliberately and secretively engaging in adultery against their spouses is hate. And some of these spouses are committed Christians who love the Lord, too.
James 5:7-11 ESV
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
So, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ whose life is committed to the Lord Jesus, to following him and to doing what he says, but you are married to a sex addict (a slave to sin) who has not yet been willing to give up his/her addiction to sin (his/her adultery), and so you have a spouse who is continually committing adultery against you and then lying about it, and so you have been crying out to God about this for a long time, know that the Lord hears and he cares. You must continue to wait on the Lord to act.
Now, when this says we must not grumble against one another it is not saying that we can’t confront sin in sinful humans and that we can’t expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what it is, or that we can’t address such serious issues as porn addiction and other sinful practices which are destroying people’s lives, their families, and their marriages, etc. We must call these things out, for they are destroying human lives.
But we shouldn’t be sitting around just grumbling and complaining about how other people are treating us, but we should be giving these situations over to the Lord, whatever they may be, and we need to wait patiently for him to act on our behalf. And we need to be praying for our persecutors, and doing good to them, and speaking words to them, in love, which will be beneficial for them spiritually, if they will listen.
And we need to follow the examples of Jesus, and of the prophets of old, and of the apostles, and of the saints of old who endured much unjust suffering at the hands of their persecutors but who trusted the Lord with their situations and who did not try to retaliate against their persecutors. And we must remain steadfast in faith and in perseverance in following the Lord, and in praying for those who mistreat us, and pray for their salvation.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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