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Fighting God

At Branches we talk a lot about God being for us and not against us. We are hyper focused on seeing people who are far from God come near. Our hope is that when our friends show up to Branches, they will learn that they can belong before they behave, that they can actually trust us to be honest and genuine. We focus more on what we are for than what we are against. We also spend a lot of time talking about what God is for rather than what God is against. But there are some very strong warnings in scripture that show us what God is against. There are some clear definitions of what this thing called sin looks like. I want to talk for a moment about the one thing scripture says will cause us to fight with God. 
James, who we believe is James the brother of Jesus, summarizes Proverbs 3:34 in his letter to the church by saying “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” This is such an interesting statement. Proverbs 3:34 says “He mocks proud mockers, but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.” Notice the offensive position both passages show God to be in. 
What does it mean when someone opposes another? To oppose is to create resistance, to place against. To actively pursue or defeat. This is no joke! What James and Solomon (the writer of most of the book of Proverbs) are trying to point out is that our pride causes God to oppose us. Our pride causes God to resist us. Our pride starts a fight with God.
The honest truth is that under the surface of every sin, you will find pride. Pride says I can do it on my own. Pride says I am right and you are wrong. Pride clutches to control and power. But following Jesus looks more like admitting you can not do it alone. It requires us to admit that we do not have all the answers. Following Jesus requires us to relinquish control to God recognizing that ultimately it is by His power and strength that we are alive. It is He who sustains us, not our own ambition or strength. 
So what exactly is happening when our pride bubbles to the surface? It runs right into God’s existence, friction happens and a fight breaks out. Not a physical fight, but a spiritual, mental, emotional fight. It isn’t a result of God putting us in our place as much as it is a result of our pride running into the reality that God is bigger than we think He is. When we think of fight, we probably visualize two people pummeling one another, both with the purpose of destroying the other. This isn’t really the kind of fight that is happening here. When our pride runs into God, it is more like watching a man try to fight a brick wall. The wall is static. It’s position is predetermined. But the man’s pride is telling him to continue running headlong into the wall, believing that he can overcome or move it. The craziest part of this whole interaction is the man’s tendency to blame the wall for being in the way rather than choosing to realize he has met an immovable object. So what do we do? How do we humble ourselves so we don’t end up fighting God?
James says that we must submit to God. We must rely on Him and not ourselves. James being Jesus’ brother, would have understood how difficult this can be. He had to come to the conclusion that his big brother was in fact God, and submit his life to him. We must do the same. As we come under God’s truth, we no longer need to be prideful because we no longer have anything to prove. As we humble ourselves, we receive grace instead of a fight.