James 4:7 (ESV) 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
May people know our memory verse for this last week. But most people only remember the last part of the verse. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The problem, of course, is that the devil is not afraid of you. You and I are not powerful enough to resist the devil on our own. In fact, when we try to resist on your own, we may have some success, but it is only the devil setting us up for a greater fall.
We forget the first part of this verse which is that we must first submit ourselves to God. What does that mean? It means that we need to place ourselves totally under the authority of God. Only when we rely on God fully in all areas of our lives will we be able to resist the devil. The devil will flee from us because it is not us who are standing before him but rather Christ who is living in us and through us.
When we fail to submit to God fully, we try to do things on our own. That is when we are most vulnerable to the devil and his attacks.
This past week I was sitting at a playground. A car pulled up across the street from me. In the front was a mother talking on her cell phone. In the back of the car was a toddler. The toddler looked out the window and saw the children playing in the playground. He wanted to join them. In fact, that is why his mother brought him to the playground.
He couldn’t wait for his mother to get out of the car, so he opened his door and got out. He began to walk across the street. That is when I saw the car coming toward him. He was unaware of the danger. He thought he could walk across the street on his own. He was not submitting to his mother.
When we think we can do something on our own without submitting to God first, we are like the toddler. We may think that we are safe to act on our own. But the devil is like a speeding car that comes out of nowhere. His intent is to always kill us. He will not slow down or stop. In fact, he will probably run us over and then back over us again!
Even the simplest action should be done while submitting to God. The devil is always looking for an opportunity to attack us.
What would your life look like if you submitted every part of it to God? It may be scary to think about doing that, but think for a moment what God could do with your life. How would you be living differently if you did?
One way to start submitting each aspect of your life to God is to start each action with prayer. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer. It could be just this simple prayer: “Jesus, show me what you want me to do about this.” It will seem strange at first, but as time goes on, you will get better at praying this prayer and listening to what God answers!
P.S. The car saw the little boy and slowed to a stop as I jumped up, yelled, “Car” and scooped the toddler out of harm’s way. I kissed the child on the forehead and set him down in the park. He ran off to play. Thank You, Jesus!