James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
If you ask people what this text means, most folks would rather talk about the second part, how we should resist the devil. The problem in these later days, is that the devil has come up with a great deception, one that is so obvious, it’s a wonder anyone falls for it. When we were young, there was a time when we would get in trouble, not because we went looking for trouble, but because someone dared us to do it. A dare is a deception, if you don’t do it, you’ll be called chicken – and if you do, you’ll get in trouble – neither one is a good choice, and often the one who dares wouldn’t even think of doing what they dare us to do. The thing that makes a dare work is it is based on a half truth, it makes in believable – however, once you know the rest of the story, once the deception is seen clearly, the temptation unravels.
The devil does not want us to submit ourselves to God. But he rarely goes about things in a straightforward manner, if he did, not only wouldn’t it work, but he would look very silly. For example, what does submit mean? Perhaps we can define it in a way that we really don’t have to do anything or change our ways, perhaps it something we only have to do as well as other people do. If we can muddy up the waters, maybe we can look as though we are doing what we are supposed to.
The problem is – that submit is quite clear, its one step further along than obey – you can obey, but be grumpy about it and complain – but there is no room for that if you really submit yourself to God. You see, when you submit, you acknowledge that you are subject to God, you acknowledge that he is your lord. You acknowledge that he has a right to guide and direct your life. And when you submit, God indeed guides and directs your life.
So, how can the devil prevent this? Lets start with children who don’t even obey their parents, but demand reasons why they should do anything their parents wish – why? Because we life in America and we are free. Free means that no one has a right to tell us to do anything. That’s the devils deception – a very effective one – effective because it undercuts all of the order God has designed for the world – no one has any responsibilities, everyone has certain in alienable rights.
Funny thing is that at the name of Jesus, even the devil must be subject – and if the devil can be cast out at Jesus name – if the devil is subject – if the devil knows that Jesus is Lord and trembles, why do we fall victim to his deceptions and dares?
Be Subject to God – but there is more to the text than just a simple command. There is also a promise, and the promise is in the word "therefore". We are not compelled to be subject, at least not at this moment – but there is a wonderful promise, which encourages us to turn to God, trust in him, and permit him to guide our lives.
James 4:6 But he gives more grace; therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
It is the grace of God which calls us, and the grace of God which moves us…..