James 4:7 Humble yourselves before God; resist the devil and he will flee from you
You ever have those moments when you just know, without a shadow of a doubt that God is speaking to you? You hear Him speaking clearly. I mean there is no doubt that what He is saying to you is specific in direction. Yet you don’t listen. Nope. Uh uh. Don’t get it, not gonna do it. Thanks for thinking so but I don’t see that happening, Lord. Maybe later, let me think on it for a bit. I can almost picture God himself, a look of sad acceptance on His face. I mean, God ordains all things and He knows His plans, right? He knows I’m going to say no until the moment that I say yes so there’s really not a surprise about my response, right?
John 13:7 says ‘You do not know now what I am doing but later you will understand’ – this is a verse that my husband and I have stood on for our entire marriage. It’s been the foundation of who we are together, and when we’ve kept it at the forefront of our decisions, we’ve had the best of times … with each other, with friends, with family and on our own individually. But when we forget it – the truth that says ‘Okay, God, I don’t have to understand what you’re doing here, I just have to do what I’m called to do’ – when we forget that truth, that’s when things get a little sideways, upside down and outright jacked up!
It’s when we find ourselves in discord with each other, our parents, our children, our friends and/or our neighbors. It’s when our light goes out. It’s when our thoughts and words and actions become misaligned with Him. Our thoughts become full of doubt, our words become negative and our actions become motivated by anything but the love of Jesus Christ. Why do we do that? Why do we doubt that God’s plan for us is perfectly ordained? It’s like turning our backs on Him … and I’ve been guilty of it, more times than I care to recall.
When I looked up James 4:7 at first, I only saw the second half: resist the devil and he will flee from you. Wowza. Resist the devil. to resist is to stand against. Mm. You might be thinking ‘how do I resist the devil?’ but I think the most important step is recognizing that the devil is attacking you and understanding why! I believe whole-heartedly that when God’s plan for your life is coming to fruition the devil will do all that he can to distract, isolate and discourage you because he comes to kill, steal and destroy and what better way to do that then to distract, isolate and discourage? If you don’t recognize that you’re distracted, isolated and/or discouraged, you won’t be able to stand against!
The verse as a whole though starts with ‘humble yourselves before God’ … humble yourselves. To be humble is to submit to. Submit yourselves to God. To submit to someone is to yield to their authority. Yield to the authority of God. Hmmm. I’m a large and in charge woman. I’m outspoken, a born leader and unafraid to tell the hard truths. Submitting to someone else does not come easily to me … just ask my husband! In this current journey of working through MY stuff, I’m realizing that when I don’t yield to God’s authority in my life … when I don’t do what He tells me to do when He tells me to do it … I’m only creating an invitation for the devil to kill, steal and destroy what the Lord has planned for me.
It’s easy to look at the first and the second part of this verse as independent thoughts but I really believe that they are interdependent: you can’t resist the devil if you’re not submitting to God’s authority. When you’re called to do something, and you set your mind to do it, you won’t be able to be distracted. When you’re doing what He called you to do, you’ll be so tuned in to Him that you won’t be able to be isolated. When you get through doing what He called you to do, and even when you’re in the middle of it, you’ll begin to understand what He is unfolding and you won’t be able to be discouraged. Submitting to God and doing what He called you to do is in fact resisting the devil.
Yield to the authority of God; stand against the devil and he will flee.