The Real Enemy

Jesus is the ultimate example of a humble, obedient life.  We want to remember what Jesus has done and in light of that, look at how we are to live each day.  We are not in charge and we are not able to forgive ourselves.  No matter how hard we try we are totally helpless without God.  Yet, so many times in our lives we try to do it on our own.  That is not what Jesus had in mind for us when He died and rose again for us.  In James 4, James is talking about the prideful heart and how when we focus on ourselves it causes us to do all kinds of mean things to one another.    Ultimately we see that it is a humble heart that we need in order to have a relationship with God.

Yielding to God 

 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

We probably don’t use the word yield real often in our life.  If I told my kids to yield they would look at me funny.  My five-year old son doesn’t seem to understand this because he collides with a lot of things and the hard objects just will not yield to him.

 We yield in relationships or conversations.  “You pick what we do today.” ” You talk first.”  “You can pick the pizza toppings.”  If we don’t yield in relationships we look like some arrogant and selfish person who no one wants to hang with.   In the same way we need to yield or submit to people in a variety of life circumstances, we need to submit to God.  This is a lifestyle of humility. We recognize our place before a holy God.

Pride says I am in charge, I can handle it and grace says, I am not in charge and I cannot handle it.  Pride says, bless me for all the wonderful things I do and grace says, “I realize that I am not being dealt with on the basis of anything that I have done, because all my “good” is actually bad to God”.  Humility puts us in the position, where we can receive grace from God.  It is where we need to be!

We are to submit ourselves to God.   We yield our lives to God.  We look to God as our conquering King and we submit our entire being to Him.  We yield our understanding to the truth of God, we yield our will or our plans to his will.  This is when we recognize that we are not God and are not in control.    We realize we have no business doing whatever we want because we have been forgiven at a high price.  This is when we realize that our sins are forgotten in Christ, that we have been looked at as if we were always obedient to God and that I have no other place I can be but in the complete submission to Him

 Resisting the devil 

 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

We are in no position to resist the devil until we have yielded to God.  This is because it is only in the infinite grace of God that there is infinite supply to counteract all the forces of evil.  We will never be successful in resisting the devil until we have truly humbled ourselves in submission to God.  We must recognize that the fight is one we cannot fight by ourselves.

It says here, then, to resist the devil and then he will flee!  Satan can and must be personally resisted.  And it is clear here that when we do resist the devil, he will run.  Even you and I, the “lowliest of believers”, can make the devil run when resisted in the context of submission to God.

God and Satan are not equal.  They are not two equal forces battling it out. God always wins.

 Drawing near to God

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8

We end up drawing near to God and as we do that He comes near to us.  There are specific results to us drawing nearer and nearer to God.  He says here to wash your hands, you sinners.  This was actually a custom in the Old Testament when the priests would approach God they would wash their hands and feet at the bronze basins as a sign of spiritual cleansing.  This is not what is happening here  literally, but it is the same concept.  We need to wash our hands and get rid of the sinful life we live.  As you draw near to God, these sinful problems become exposed and we are convicted of that sin.  That is where we can then run to the cross for cleansing.

This is serious

My kids have imaginations like anyone else.  That means that sometimes they see and hear things that just aren’t there.  For a few days my 5-year-old was having a hard time with school because he was anxious.  We have had random fears come up with each child.  That is a part of growing up.  The important part is that we teach our kids to pray and ask God to help them.  We all, no matter how old, need to recognize our place and how little we really can control.  We have no reason to be afraid because God is in control and He is stronger than anything.  This is freeing for us!

We can all learn to leave our fear aside because no matter what we face, with God with us, we have nothing to be afraid of.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

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4 comments

  1. If only people would learn this early on in life. He can be trusted–completely–but trust is difficult for so many. I know someone who tells me God is not keeping up His end of the bargain because she’s had to borrow money to get by. I say she’s still trying to solve her own problems and not really trusting. She’s not ready to hear this yet, but its a good example of someone thinking they trust fully when they don’t. People want to put God in a box and tell Him how He’s to meet their needs and what He has to do for them to believe. ::sigh:: 🙂 angie

    1. To say that God did not hold up His end of the bargain is really quite arrogant. He has done way more than needed. Have you heard the song “I need a miracle” by Third Day? Here is the link — http://youtu.be/HmhNZkyGloc It highlights this quite well. I am working on a lesson for a magazine on this song and am finding it to be so simple, yet profound.

      1. I love that song! Yes, she often says things that get me up in arms. I try to be patient with her because God is growing her, but I always say something about these statements. She is not aware of the arrogance, and her take may not be so much arrogance as trying to understand. I’ve watched her grow by leaps and bounds, but this is one area she struggles in. Maybe I’ll share that song with her. Simple – again lol. If we would look at things as a child and not try to throw man’s reasoning, etc. into the mix, we’d get it a lot sooner. 🙂

        1. The thing about discipleship is that it is not so much about rapid growth, but rather about growth over time. So, someone might grow rapidly for a while and then slow down. The question is, are they growing? It might not be in our timing, but God still has it all figured out.

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