"So submit to God. But 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 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (NET)
God makes a promise to us in this scripture that if we do our part, God will do His. Is this not our desire as a Christian? We all desire a close and personal relationship with God. We want to talk to Him, feel that He is close, and deep down we want to allow all our hope, faith, and trust to reside in Him. Our desire should be to become One with our God and that He will be our Father and we, His sons and daughters. In order to get that close relationship with God we must do our part. We know that in order to become a Christian, God has to unveil His truth to us. In that case He calls us out and draws us to Him to learn and grow in a new way of life. It says in John:6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day., “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them...” (NIV). It is after this that our zeal can become lackluster and we can begin to become complacent in our spiritual growth. Or maybe we become discouraged because of a trial, unfortunate circumstance, or just a lack of godly behavior. It is at this time that this scripture should come into practice. God has provided us all the tools and it is our responsibility to use those tools to draw close to God even in the most difficult situations.
In those circumstances how do we take those steps towards God? How do we fulfill our part of the promise? I believe verse 7 gives us the way to draw near to God. Once again it says:
7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.
First off we must submit to God. Submitting to God is more than going to church and is more than saying “I believe.” Submitting to God is giving it all to God and for God. It is the way we act every day: our attitude, our desires, our passions. Are we reflecting God in those actions? In order to submit to God we must follow His way of life, portray righteousness, because God is the author of righteousness. Submitting to God is respecting God, it is honoring God, it is allowing God to lead your life. Do you allow God to lead you or do you seek your own way? All this is an everyday practice that takes constant growth in our spiritual life. Submitting to God is not easy but when it is done properly it shows humility and a willingness to serve. Not only that but it is very rewarding. It is a must to create an even closer bond with God.
Secondly, we must resist the devil. The way this scripture is worded is very important to how we act on it. Resisting the devil is much easier once you have submitted to God. Resisting the devil without submitting to God can be an impossible task. However, nothing is impossible with God. See how that works? With God, we can resist the devil and we must seek to do so. He is a master of deception, darkness and twisting everything sinful to make it look better. But we can decipher that deception and darkness if we have a close relationship with God. Satan is very good at what he does, sadly, and we often allow him to succeed because of our weaknesses. But by submitting to God and building that relationship with Him, we don’t allow Satan any time in our lives and by doing so resist the devil. We must change the way we act, our reactions, and our justifications. We must change our attitude and character to one that is godly. God gives us insight in how to do this.
25 Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. 27 Do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the one who has need. 29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. 32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.–Ephesians:4:25-32 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  Neither give place to the devil.  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (NET)
I think the highlighted verse is incredible advice. “Do not give the devil an opportunity.” Sometimes we like to, in a way, “flirt” with the devil and it is the worst thing we can do. We like to just try something because “trying has never hurt anyone.” Or we try to justify our actions as if we had good intentions when God did not even enter our mind. The truth is, to be the best we can be, to truly become righteous, and to become one with God, we cannot give the enemy the opportunity to separate us from our God. In fact we should not even get close to it. I truly believe if we do our part of submitting to God and rewiring our brain and heart to be in line with Him, then we won’t allow the devil to have an opportunity to get in the way. With that continuous spiritual growth, we will feel the close-knit relationship God will form with us. Let us read once again the verse in James and this time as you read it think of how you can put your part of the promise into action and show God you are “near Him.”
7 So submit to God. But 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 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (NET)
Let us seek God with all our heart and do everything in our power to draw near to him.
Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence
and questions should be sent to email@example.com.
Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to firstname.lastname@example.org.