The Greek word for “oppose” used in James 4:6 is antitassomai, a word denoting to “rage in battle against.” I am sure you agree—this is a bad deal! If for some reason I got angry with you, you could punch me back. But if God becomes angry with you and resists you, you would have no chance. We bring disaster upon ourselves when we walk in pride, and ultimately we cut ourselves off from His grace.
The only way to receive His grace and favor is to be broken and humble before Him. And this is something Scripture says we are responsible for. The Bible never says God will humble us. The only place where God humbled individuals is in the case of Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar or situations when He said, “Either you fall on this rock and be saved, or the rock will fall on you and powder you” (paraphrase, see Daniel 2:34–35).
We must humble ourselves (see James 4:10). We must choose to walk the road of brokenness. We are told to put on the garment of humility.
This brokenness is not just an outer garment. It is not just externally looking very humble and pious, like the Pharisees did. The attitude of our hearts must be humble.
But how can we understand the condition of our heart, to know whether it is humble and broken or stiff and unbending? Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
Yet this passage continues with saying, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind” (v. 10). When the Lord, in His mercy and grace, reveals to us the pride, stubbornness and unwillingness in our hearts, we must be willing to say, “Lord, that’s the area You are showing me. I humble myself and I repent.” But if we refuse to do that, we make God our enemy. He will oppose us. Grace can no longer be given.