James, the boy who grew into a man at the side of Jesus, wrote, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.“
Whenever I see “so” or “therefore” I have to look back to see what these words are the conclusion or summary of. I just do.
In the first part of this section of his letter to the Jews scattered away from home, James writes about relationship. He talks about how we argue out of jealousy, even going to extreme measures to get what others have instead of asking God for that which we want. He mentions that even when we do ask God for that thing, we ask from a bad place, a place of selfishness and worldliness, seeking only personal pleasure.
Anyone else saying ouch here?
James plainly declares that any friendship with the world – that which is against God as the ultimate Sovereign over everything and everyone – makes us enemies of God.
Then just before today’s words, he says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
When we get all caught up in our own pleasure, our own wants, and start believing we deserve those things, we set ourselves up against God. We become anti-God, and God will always oppose that.
When we choose self over God and His will for us, we’re choosing to throw away every ounce of grace He would offer us, in essence saying it’s not what we want.
Oh, dear one! Heed what James said in this verse! He’s saying that in the light of what he just said, choose to humble yourself before God.
So humble yourselves
And he goes on to tell us how to avoid the pitfalls of choosing the world and self over God. The devil and his minions love to whisper to us and lead us astray and there’s only one way to avoid that.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
Get the devil and his crew away from us. It’s as simple as resisting, but difficult knowing when.
I mean, the temptations are really … well… tempting! That item, that place, that person… they’re so delightful, so enticing, what could be wrong in enjoying that?
The perfect test is to ask yourself if that item, place, or person is leading you to Christ or away. If the answer is away, start resisting!
Yeah, don’t start that “I can handle this, it’s all good” stuff.
It’s not, and you can’t.
That enemy has nearly 10,000 years’ practical experience operating against humans, you’re no match in trying to control him.
God says just resist and he leaves. That’s your option. No toying with that temptation. Resist. Put your feet down, stand tall, and once again declare your full intent to only go with God.
A friend recently told me she actually puts her hand up, palm out like a police officer stopping traffic. When she snaps that hand up, she says, “NO!”
I’ve heard of others doing similarly, but saying, “Not today!” or “Not now!” I think that leaves an opening for a return… not a good thing.
Today let’s act on every opportunity to choose God over self, over our own pleasure, over the world. Let’s stomp our feet onto solid ground and throw up our personal stop sign and tell the enemy NO.
Let’s drop our pride, draw near to our Heavenly Father, and relish the grace He gives over every part of our lives.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.