Friday May 6, 2022
Scripture James 4: 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Life Lesson: As those who are among the fellowship of believers it is imperative that we set our hearts and our minds on seeking the Lord, understand that we are battling not only our own compulsions to sin but demonic influences as well, and therefore resist every temptation to indulge the sinful nature.
– James has drawn for us a contrast between the faith filled and the carnal believer, James 4:1-10. The carnal believer is constantly in conflict due to the influence of the sinful nature. Paul exhorted Titus in his letter to him, 3: 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” This type of person is described in the initial verses of this chapter.
– In contrast James tells us what we need to do to gain the victory over such a destructive attitude in the above text selected for today. We need to submit ourselves to God. Now we might think, “Of course! that is what I have been doing”. And yet James is giving this instruction to the church, to those who are already intending to follow Christ. So we must acknowledge that the issue of submission is one we all struggle with.
– Instead of conforming to the pattern of this world, we need to submit ourselves to God. First and foremost our attention should be given to coming to the Father for the empowerment of His kingdom and His will to be done in this world, for our daily bread, for forgiveness from our sins and the empowering to forgive those who have harmed us, to rely on God to steer us away from temptation and to deliver us from the rampant evil so pervasive in this world. First and foremost, we need to go to God for His enabling and His empowering.
– Then we also need to intentionally resist the devil. Too often we might be guilty of entertaining the devil’s influence even as Eve did in the Garden. Perhaps we do not take the reality of the devil’s spiritual attacks seriously, or perhaps we rationalize our capability to deal with the devil’s temptations and schemes in our own strength. Perhaps we are lacking the discernment to recognize the devil’s attacks when they come. We will overcome the devil, not in or own strength or through our own cunning, but through reliance on God. This is why James immediately directs us in the next verse to, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Even if you believe you are living in submission to God, you need to passionately pursue the Lord daily. Why? Because we live by faith! Because we are living in a hostile environment, and because there can be no greater attainment for any of us than to know the Lord!