Submit yourselves to God
I get mired down at times, in things I know are wrong, I know we all do at times. It could be something as simple as watching a TV show that doesn’t stand up to good moral values. Maybe it’s spending money on something I want, instead of helping someone in need, or tithing a little bit more. At the time, it doesn’t seem so bad. When I look at the world and all the atrocities happening daily, watching a racy TV show, or buying a bigger TV really don’t seem to be sinful do they? They aren’t really, buying a bigger TV definitely doesn’t seem like a sin.
But today I’m looking at this Verse…
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
This seems pretty simple when you look at it, even encouraging! So if I do what God tells me to do, and don’t do what the devil tells me to do, he will run away…pretty cool right? Don’t Murder anyone, and the Devil won’t get me…Deal.
Momma always told me “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”, so I thought I better look into this verse a little more. Maybe just looking at that one verse doesn’t explain God’s meaning.
James (Jesus’s Brother) is writing to Christian Jews in this letter, the “Twelve Tribes” scattered among the nations. throughout the letter he is writing about good deeds and Faith, about Living a Christian Life. A Life that is pleasing to God.
Particularly in Chapter 4, he is writing about what causes us to sin, that our own desires, envy, and covetousness cause us to quarrel, steal, and kill. Even when we pray to God, we ask for things with the wrong motives, not to please God, but to please ourselves. Earlier on in Chapter 1 he spoke of the same thing:
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1: 6-8
If we doubt that God’s Word, his Law, is final, we can seek to ask for things for ourselves, things that wont glorify God. We should not expect to receive ANYTHING from the Lord if we waiver in our belief. This explains alot!
Back to 4:7, it says RESIST the Devil…resist the temptations. Sometimes we say to ourselves, I resist stealing, or resist adultery, so I’m in pretty good shape…so what if I slip on that whole sex before marriage thing? James wrote about that as well…
“each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
So these little imperfections we let slip, drag us into a hole we may not be able to climb out of. That is a scary thought. At least for me. Those seemingly small actions or thoughts we know are wrong, but not “So Wrong” can lead to sin. And can we really say we are resisting the devil, if we agree with him on a few points? Even one? James says:
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10
OK, so I am in trouble. I need to SUBMIT to God. What is that all about?
It is about his two greatest Commandments; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
In Jame’s words:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.” James 2:8
When I put this all together, I see those little things I have let slip, those things I have done out of my own desires, have aligned me with the world. They have aligned me with the Devil. How then can I expect God to help me when I am on the Devils side?
Jesus Christ is how. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus told us to Repent and Believe. Give up our Lives, our worldly lives, bear our cross, and FOLLOW HIM. Live the life he led, humbly serving (loving) our neighbors, sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God. His Blood redeemed us, and we can live in God’s Grace if we resist the devil, and submit to God.
As James wrote; “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 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.” James 4:8-10
Praise God, all is not lost, I can repent, wash my sinners hands, purify my heart, and God will lift me up…