In the first six verses of Chapter 4, James told us that the key to becoming a peacemaker is to become the friend of God. In verses 7-17, he tells us how we can become a better friend to God…
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
It begins with submitting to the Lord. You can’t have a close friendship with God if you keep trying to do things your own way. The Greek word that has been translated “submit” is a military word that means to get into your proper rank. If a private starts to think and act like he’s the general, there is going to be trouble! How do you act around your Lord? Are you like a soldier reporting for duty and ready to take orders every day, or do you try to be the general in your relationship with God? James is essentially saying, “Get in line, soldier, and learn your rank!” Pride is at the root of all our sin. Every time we sin, we are displaying this attitude: I want to be the general. I want to be the Commander-in-Chief of my life.
If the first step is submitting to God, the other side of that coin is resisting the devil. He is powerful, but he also resistible, as long as we are standing close to Jesus. Many people think of God and Satan as being opposites, but that is not accurate. Before his rebellion Satan started out as a holy angel named Lucifer, who was created by God. Satan’s counterpart (so to speak) is not God, but the archangel Michael. Satan is no match for God, because he is not even on God’s level! He can tempt you to sin, but he cannot make you sin. He is resistible.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Notice that both Peter and James used the word "resist." Many people attempt to rebuke the devil, but that is not our place. Our job is to resist him, and leave the rebuking up to God. Two tools in our resistance are prayer and the Word of God. When He was tempted in the wilderness, Jesus quoted Scripture to resist the devil.
A father is walking through the woods with his little girl. Suddenly, they find themselves face to face with a roaring lion. Where does the little girl take her stand? You got it – right behind Daddy’s legs! If she’s too far away from Daddy, she’s in trouble. If she tries to confront the lion herself, she’s in trouble. As long as she’s with Daddy, the lion has to go through him to get to her.
Today’s Good News is that in Christ Jesus we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us!
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.