James: 4: 7-10: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, your 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.
How do we as followers of Christ, submit ourselves to God? James give us some important guidelines on how we are to submit ourselves unto God. James warns us about our love for the world and how this type of love for worldly things, is in fact, hatred towards God. James, like Paul and Peter, warns us that our enemy, the devil, must be resisted and we are powerless to do that unless we first submit ourselves to God.
The world with all of its many distractions, does its best to keep us from developing a closer and more spiritual relationship with God. We know deep inside our very being that we need to spend more time reading God’s word and asking for wisdom to better understand and apply God’s word to our own lives. We are convicted of the need to develop a deeper prayer life, one that causes us to pray without ceasing and to draw closer to God. Yet the world with all of its distractions continues to pull us away from our creator.
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, wanted his church in Ephesus to understand just how powerful the work of Satan can be against the church. Paul tells the church to “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Peter also warns us that the devil is a powerful enemy of God and all that is good and righteous. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
The two ways that we can defeat the devil is to stay in God’s word and to develop a deeper prayer life with God. By reading God’s word, we are better trained to hear God speaking to us through His word. It amazes me how many times I open the Bible to a passage that speaks to what I am going through at that very moment. God will provide an answer to your problems, but you must spend time in the word with God in order for that to happen.
The second way to defeat the evil of Satan is to pray constantly, or without ceasing to God. Prayer is communication with God, your creator. We must first come before God in prayer offering up praises and thanksgiving because of God’s great mercy and love for us. Then we can begin to pray for our own needs and especially the need for God to keep the evil one far away from us on any given day.
God gives us clear direction – if we will only submit ourselves to God and if we will resist the devil – then the evil one will flee from us. This doesn’t mean that he won’t be back to tempt us again, because he will. That is why as believers, we must stay in constant contact with God, so that He can deliver us from the evil of this world. If we will only desire God and submit to Him, then God will bring us through our trials and our moments of temptation.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. (1 Peter 4:8a)