“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
While James chapter four is divided into four different postings, it still remains that the chapter is dealing with worldly Christians, though the things contained therein explain what is wrong with the world system in general.
The opening verse in this chapter is the key to the whole thing.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” James 4:1.
That this concerns the worldly Christian becomes clearer when read in the New American Standard Version, The Lockman Foundation.
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” James 4:1.
Having laid out the problem of worldliness, James now gives the cure for such an attitude; beginning with the following.
“Therefore submit to God.” James 4:7a.
How this is done is found in I Peter 5, where he begins by quoting a verse already found in James 4.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6b.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” I Peter 5:5b.
Similar thoughts are found in the Old Testament. Two are quoted below to give you a rounded perspective of this principle.
“Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34.
“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’” Isaiah 57:15.
God has taken the main thrust of these two passages and put it into the epistles of both James and Peter.
The underlying meaning of this is that God is a humble God. Yes, hard as it is to believe this is true, Jesus is God incarnate, and He was humble, that means that God the Father is also humble.
I believe that Satan made two mistakes out of many when he rebelled against God. The first mistake was in underestimating God’s power. He did so by believing that he could be like Him.
God made running creation look so easy that the devil believed that he could do just as good a job as the Lord.
But the devil is not infinite in knowledge or power, so running the entire universe like clockwork, and managing nature here on earth, or anywhere, is just as much beyond his capacity as it is ours.
Look around you; can you imagine running nature, the weather, knowing the number of tuna off the west coast, managing the ice floes in the north Atlantic setting up weather patterns and managing the proper conditions for the breeding areas of numerous species. God does this and unimaginably more, all this out of concern for the lives of some 7.8 billion people?
What was Satan thinking?
His second mistake was in underestimating God’s personality. The Devil must have thought that with a humble God on the throne, He would just move over and allow Satan to co-rule.
You know, go up to God, slap Him on the side and say, “Hey big guy, there is plenty of room on this throne for the two of us!” and God would just meekly move over.
The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy, and Satan clearly did not know God. His own arrogance doomed him, and for all his bravado and machinations, he is still slowly sinking in the raw sewage of his own self-delusion and maleficence; once he goes under, we will not hear from him again.
So then, God is drawn to the humble and contrite because they are like Him. Can you imagine a more peaceful heaven than one where everyone accepts and cares for one another and rather than blaspheming God, are content to just let Him do His job?
Is this not how you pick your companions?
Do you enjoy being with like minded folks, or do you prefer to associate with people who criticize you, make fun of you, or just argue with you all the time? I think not; that is just not heaven.
“Therefore submit to God.” Let us now have Peter explain further.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7.
This idea is not to humble yourselves under the crushing hand of God, rather it is to submit to whatever circumstance He puts you in. The double-minded Christian is always trying to promote his own plans without considering what God may have in store for him. The result of this is that God is unable to bless him because he has taken himself out of the place of blessing.
Granted, this humbling may take us into things which are uncomfortable even frightening; this is why God tells us to cast all our cares upon Him, “for He cares for you”. You must continually be in prayer and in faith, knowing that God will not desert you, ever.
Lose sight of this, and you may lose sight of the goal of staying under the mighty hand of God.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Whatever you do, never give up; if you fall turn to your Father and He will lift you up. Again, do not give up!
And this brings us to the accuser.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b.
The name devil means accuser, or slanderer; he accuses us before God, as seen in Revelation 12 and the thing that is not often realized is that he accuses God before us.
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’” Revelation 12:10.
How often have you heard questions like?
“Why does God not do something about all the misery in this world?”
“Look at all the horrible torture and death done in the name of God?”
“Why would God punish us for doing things that feel good like, drugs and sex?”
“My God would not send someone to hell!”
“Why would God create a homosexual then send him to hell?”
“What about the heathen, does God send them all to hell just because they have not heard of Him?”
And he will accuse God to you personally by questioning God’s motives or His methods. Then when you fall because of his lies, he will accuse you before God and to yourself.
All the accusations will seem to come from your very own heart. “Are all these awful trials coming to me because God is angry with me, or because He hates me?”
“I am such a failure; God is surely finished with me, what is the use in going on if I only fail?”
This evil, malicious person will even attack children with his lies. “My daddy died because I am a bad child and God is angry with me.” “What did I do wrong to cause my parents to get a divorce?”
This is why you must have even a basic knowledge of the Bible and read it every day, knowing the Scriptures will help you to recognize the lies.
Another advantage to knowing the Scriptures is they help you to resist the devil.
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, as seen in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13, you will notice that the Lord only answered him with Scripture.
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’” Matthew 4:10.
This is all the argument you will need. You will also notice that the answers refuted the lies that Satan was telling Him. In the same manner you can recognize lies of the devil by comparing them to the truth of the Bible.
For instance in answer to the statement, “I am too bad for God to save me.”
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” John 6:37.
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40.
Or, “I must clean up my act for God to save me.”
“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” Luke 23:39-43.
The thief on the cross next to Jesus had time only to confess that he was a sinner and was receiving his due reward and to accept Christ as his Savior; no time to clean up his act.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Before leaving this, it should be noted that while we are told to resist the devil, we are to flee youthful lusts.
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” II Timothy 2:22.
While the devil seems like the more powerful of the two, he is at a disadvantage because we have the authority to tell him to leave, but youthful lusts work from within and are hard for the flesh to resist.
Just as the alcoholic is to stay out of bars, so we should stay away from compromising situations and folks who are a bad influence.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” I Corinthians 15:33, NASB.
Resist the Devil, James 4:7 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 9-28-11, updated on 11-7-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.