Submit or Resist

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


Observations: James has been talking about how we are motivated by selfish desires (v1-3), and how we are tempted to become friends with the world (v4-6). Rather than ourselves or the world, James tells us to ‘submit ourselves to God.’ The word ‘submit’ means to obey, or to place oneself under the authority of someone. It is to recognize that God has authority over our lives. In opposition to submitting to God, is ‘resisting the devil.’ The word ‘resist’ suggests to war against, or to openly rebel against. James sees the influence of the devil behind our selfish desires and the world (see 3:14-16). The truth is that it is impossible to sit on the fence, we either submit to God, or we submit to Satan, we either rebel against God, or we rebel against Satan. But according to James if we submit ourselves to God then we are able to resist the devil, for with God on our side the devil ‘will flee from you.’ That means that it is possible to resist our selfish desires and the world’s influence, but only if we are submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil.


Application: James is absolutely black and white in terms of our devotion to God – we either submit to God, or we submit to the devil, we either resist the devil or we resist God. When you are faced with choices, the choice to follow your own desires, or the world’s desires, is to follow Satan. To submit ourselves to God means that in everything we ask what does God desire in this, it means choosing God’s will over our own, or anyone else’s. Do you choose God in everything?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, so often I think that living life my own way is a neutral thing and that it doesn’t matter, but by not submitting myself to You and Your will I am submitting myself to the devil and his will. Lord, help me resist the devil, help me resist the influence of the world and my own selfish desires. Help me instead submit myself to You in all things. Help me to humble myself before You and to obey Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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