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Meeting Your Deepest Needs:

February 17th, 2008

A Consideration of James 4:5

“Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that that the Scripture says,

He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?”

(James 4:5)

The theologian Augustine said: “Thou hast made us for Thyself and we shall

ever restless be until we find our rest in Thee.” The Bible indicates that there

is a part of the humanness of man that has a spiritual dimension. Genesis 1:28

refers to this dimension as “the image and likeness of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

posits—“he has put eternity into man’s heart…” And, James 4:5 reads—“He

yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us…”In consider-

ation of James 4:5, we are immediately taken by the strong emotional sentiment

that God voices regarding the spirit of man. The text says that God “yearns

jealously” over it. Note the small “s” (in “spirit”) to express the human spirit.

1. Man’sspirit,” therefore, legitimizes human needs beyond the

physical dimension. The spirit is an inner issue (see 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph.

3:16). But, the spirit of James 4:5, while having universal content, cannot be exclusively assigned to all mankind, because James is writing to Christ-

ians who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:9,11,16).

2. Jealousy is relevant when it comes to meeting one’s deepest needs

(Ex. 20:5; 34:14; note the term “pity” in Judges 2:18 [ESV] for God’s

people). The context of James 4:1-4, leading up to 4:5, expresses unacceptable behaviors for personal fulfillment; or acting out to get

needs met. Note, also, that the spirit is a given reality (see Eccl. 3:14).

It rightfully belongs to the Creator.

3. The spirit of James 4:5 is practically and ultimately about receiving grace for meeting our deepest needs (James 4:6).

-Robert M. Housby

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