Aug. 6, 2020

What Does James 4:9-10 Mean?

What Does James 4:9-10 Mean?

Hey! Welcome to today's Bible Study Podcast. We've been studying the book of James verse-by-verse.


In the past several episodes, James has been teaching us what it looks like to live according to worldly wisdom, not godly wisdom. In the 1st Century Church, James witnessed fighting and bickering occurring between believers, and he'd had enough. He called them out for being adulterers and lovers of the world. As the "Bride of Christ," they were "cheating" on God.


James is calling those who have fallen away from God to repent and humble themselves.

JAMES 4:9-10 (NIV) "Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Listen in to discover the fascinating history and culture of these verses that bring this scripture alive in your life.

See the beautiful imagery James uses to picture humility and God's response to us in James 4:10.


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JULIE 0:05

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth, I’m Julie Carruth.

In the past several episodes James has been showing us what humility within a believer looks like.  

James ends this section about humility in James 4:9-10 (NIV), “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

As we’ve been learning, the original recipients of this letter would have understood that James was alluding to the Old Testament here. 

You see, grieving, mourning and wailing are all words used by the Old Testament prophets that point to outward signs of repentance from sin.

So, when James say to change our laughter to mourning and our joy to gloom, he’s referring to those who flippantly laugh in the face of God when He’s calling them to repent of their sins.

And someone who grieves, mourns and wails is someone who’s truly broken over their sinful behavior. 

Please note here that James is not saying Christians need to live in a state of doom and gloom. Keeping this verse in context with the surrounding verses, James is addressing those who have fallen away from God and he’s telling them to mourn their sinful behavior and repent.  

And I love the ending of this section here as James gives this final command to humble ourselves before God. The word “humble” comes from a word the means “to make oneself low.” It gives the visual image of someone stretched out with their face on the ground before a holy God admitting their total dependence on Him. God then leans down and lifts their face from the dust. This person rises to their feet with joy and gratitude knowing they are forgiven and given a position of favor and honor with God.

So, your simple truth for today: Before God can lift you up and give you honor, you must first go down low through the valley of humility. 

Hey, did you know that the Bible says in 1 Samuel 2:30 that those who honor God, God will honor them? One way you can honor God is to study His Word daily, and we’ve made that easy for you here at The Simple Truth.

Then ask your Amazon smart speaker to “PLAY BIBLE STUDY” and every day you can grow stronger in knowing God’s Word. 

I’m Julie Carruth, and I’ll see you again soon. 


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