James 4:8-10 are great verses when it comes to our role in straightening out our sinful lives. The Bible says in Romans 8:28-30 that God is actively conforming us to the image of His son. He is active in our lives, not a passive God who is distant from us. However, as Christians we have a role in these actions of God that are changing us into the image of Jesus and the verses in James are a good place to see the actions we must take.
First, we must draw near to God. Just as I must be close to my wife emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically for us to have a relationship we must also draw close to God. We do this through prayer and Bible study and application. We must speak to God, learn from God through the Bible, and live out what God teaches.
Secondly, we must be sad over our sinful state. When James says that we should weep and mourn he is not saying that we should go into depression but rather we should see the sin in our lives and be heartbroken over it. Earlier in this chapter he says that friendship with the world is hostility to God, and if we find ourselves in this situation it should cause us sadness at the state of our lives. We cannot look at our sin and act like it is no big deal because Jesus says that it is a big deal. God looks at our sin as a Father looks at his child who has done wrong. There is still love, but correction must come.
Lastly, when the correction of our sin comes we must humble ourselves before God. Humility is the ability to look to God and ask for forgiveness and direction. It’s the freedom to release your pride that you know how to live your life better than God does. Physically humble yourself before God by bowing on your knees as you picture him on his throne. He is our King, our Savior, and our God and the only way to approach him is with humbleness in our hearts. For more on humility or to read about this all important aspect of the Christian life read C.J. Maheny’s wonderful book simply called “Humility.” God will straighten your life out as you walk in humility. And God is constantly conforming and changing your life to match the life of Jesus.