Submit, Resist, Draw Near (James 4:7-8)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. —James 4:7-8
James delivers these three concise instructions straight from the Lord Jesus, each one crafted to equip us for living a successful Christian life this very day, and every day that we choose to employ them.
Submit yourselves to the Lord… of course! How else should we relate to an Almighty Sovereign than to go to Him in submission, willing to live this day as He directs? Jesus taught us that He did nothing on His own, but did everything the Father required of Him; so must it be for us (John 5 & 6). I remember the very first time I dropped to my knees in the morning and gave God my day—utterly. And I remember well the new joy of looking all day for “God-signs”—in chance meetings, calls I received, unexpected happenings, etc.—then seeing God working in all these circumstances. Submitting myself to God ignited my life with daily excitement and the anticipation of meeting Him at any hour.
Challenge: Change your life—begin this very moment to submit yourself to the Lord Jesus!
Resist the devil and he will flee from you… this is not an emergency resource. Resisting the devil is an everyday, any moment tool we employ as the devil attacks with wrong thoughts, carnal desires, or ungodly attitudes. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He resisted Satan by quoting Scripture. We must study the word and store its wisdom in our hearts in order to discern good and evil, and to be equipped to resist. Know that our Lord is faultless in His faithfulness. If you resist the devil in His name, if you order Him away from you, using your fighter verses and standing on the authority of Christ Jesus, the devil and his temptations will evaporate from your presence. Our Lord tells us to be holy, for He is holy! We desperately need this tool daily!
Challenge: Practice the discerning of good and evil—then resist Satan whenever you recognize wrongdoing in your behavior or thoughts.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you… I hug this verse to my heart so very often because I have found it to be true! Like Enoch, who walked with God, like Mary, who sat at His feet to learn, like Jacob, who clung to Him until He promised to bless him—passionate love for the Lord and longing for Him flourishes and grows as we draw near to Him, and as we experience Him drawing near to us!
So how do we do it? How do we draw near to God? Read the Word of God daily; worship there. Worship at church, worship in the night when you can’t sleep. Talk with your Savior throughout the day, pour out your heart to Him, call Him for whatever your need. Praise Him for the greatness of His character, for each precious gift He gives.
Challenge: Draw near to God—make your own list of ways to do it.