James 4:7 KJV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
I hear it said so often that sometimes it drives me crazy. I hear Christians say “Well, if I resist the devil he will flee from me. The Bible tells me that he will.” And they are right – but they are so wrong at the same time. If we take off what is before this verse then we cannot expect the devil to flee from us when we resist him. We cannot take scripture out of context and expect it to work for us. So let’s take a closer look at what it takes to have the devil flee from us.
We just finished up verse 6 before we took a short Christmas break. For those of you who don’t remember verse 6 says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Then verse 7 says submit yourselves therefore to God. We have to take verse 7 in light of what verse 6 says. We must humble ourselves before God. This is part of submitting ourselves to God.
I know that we have talked about this extensively but I believe it is one of the biggest problems in the church today and we cannot stress it enough. Humility is a trait that the church is sorely lacking in, and I include myself in that mix. I need more humility every single day. I know that my pride gets in the way too often and that I need to humble myself before an almighty God. That’s part of the submission that it takes so that I can resist the devil and have him flee. When we are proud the Bible says God resists us! So the question is do we want God to resist us or do we want to be able to resist the devil and have him flee?
Another verse that I go to quite often is Micah 6:8.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
It doesn’t say God would like you to do these things or you can choose to do these things if you want. Micah says these are required. A requirement is something that must be done, not something that’s optional. So we have to be just and fair with others, we have to love Mercy (not only love God’s mercy but love giving mercy to others) and then we must walk humbly before God.
Another verse that we all I hear quoted quite often II Chronicles 7:14.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
I know many people who think that they can call down the blessings of heaven because they pray this prayer out of the Bible, but this verse specifically says that we must humble ourselves before we do anything else. It says they shall humble themselves, then pray, then seek his face and then turn from their Wicked Ways. If we come before God with a haughty spirit and say God you have to do this, we are dead wrong. I see too many Christians who think they can just name it and claim it for victory over this thing or that thing. That is not humility – that is pride. They will say “I know your word and you have to do what your word says.” I will not argue that God has you do what His word says. But He decides when and He decides where and He decides how! Sometimes we take it into our own hands to think we can determine when and where and how He will meet the promises in His word. Sometimes we think that just because someone else could name a blessing and God gave it to them that God owes us the same answer. How wrong we can be?
So the first part of submitting ourselves to God is to Humble ourselves before Him and realize that we have no place to demand anything from God. He demands from us and until we meet His demands how can we possibly think that He would need to meet ours. And His demand is that we humble ourselves before we submit ourselves. Submitting means coming in line with His word. Submitting means giving our will over to His, not us trying to usurp authority over Him. Submitting means doing what He asks us to do not telling Him what we want Him to do. Submitting means that in the middle of the deepest darkest trial we still trust Him to bring us through and we do not question the method He uses. Submitting means allowing God complete control in our lives and not trying to take control ourselves. When we come to the point that we submit like that then we will be able to, resist the devil and He will flee. Then we can draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to us. But we will spend more time on verse 8 in the next segment.