James 4:7-12. RESIST THE DEVIL- 5-28-19 devotional

James 4:7-12. RESIST THE DEVIL- 5-28-19 devotional

James 4:7-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:7     5-28-19

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV, 7)

Dear Lord Jesus, thankyou for your word, which is like cool water to a thirsty soul. When I am tied up with the things of this world, I know that I can always come back to you and your word and get focused again on what is truly worthwhile and satisfying. When the world is trying to enjoy one vacation experience after another, you have given your word to us. Thank you. Please help me to accept your truth deeply in my heart. I thank you and I pray in Jesus’ name.

Part 1: Submit Yourselves to God (7-10)

Verses 7-10, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (NIV)

James was giving people words of encouragement. I am not sure if James is talking to worldly people, outside of the church, or to members of the church. Whatever the case, these people were suffering because of the power of sin and the devil.

A quick assessment of the verses reveals the spiritual condition of the people James was writing to. There were some people who were captured by the power of the devil. They were unclean before God because of their sin. They were double minded, wanting to do good before God, but helplessly engaging in the sin that they did not want to engage in. They had actually become the people that they never wanted to become. They were mindlessly laughing and being joyful even when they were stuck in a decrepit sinful condition. In that sense it was like a fake laughter and joy, ignoring their broken relationship with God. They were blind. They were also proud, and not humbling themselves before God. As a result, they were unable to live a victorious Christian life. According to James, their problem was twofold, not submitting to God and being subject to the whiles of the devil.

The peoples’ problems were spiritual problems. The Bible tells us that our enemy is not against flesh and blood. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV, Eph 6:10)

Yes, they were helpless in their sins. But they were not helpless in Christ. On their own, they could only flail around, thinking that other people were the problem. That would be misdiagnosing their spiritual condition. In the medical field a person cannot be healed of their disease without the proper diagnosis. They needed to see how their struggles were actually “…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

There are forces of evil at work in this world that can stymy our own puny human efforts every time. Our enemy is the devil. He does not like it when we decide to submit ourselves to God. He is very powerful, and he can defeat us if we fight him with our human strength.

But for believers this is not the case. We are not alone in winning the spiritual battle. God is there and he wants to help us. Let’s consider, first of all, verse 6 of this chapter. “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.’” God is ready to absolutely help each of us. But there is one condition to his being able to come to our aid…humble submission to God. He helps the humble and he opposes the proud. Every time we are assailed by forces of evil and sinful desires, then God will be there to help us. He will work in our hearts, but we must have an attitude of humble submission.

Where there is humility before God, there is prayer, there is hope. We ask God for his help at our lowest point, even though asking God is usually not our first reaction. But we must know that God is ready and willing and able to help us in our troubles when we are honest and when we are able to ask God and accept God’s help. God really wants to help you. Be humble in your heart and mind. Let’s make a resolution today, “I will have a change of attitude!” Look at verse 10 again. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” God will give us hope. He will lift us out of our lowest condition, whatever it may be. God’s word is true.

Part 2: Don’t Judge Brothers or Neighbors (11-12)

Verses 11-12, “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” (NIV)

There was another group of people who were ensnared by another spiritual problem, slandering others. Look at verse 7 and then verse 11 and 12. What is the root of slandering? When a person doesn’t get what they want they judge and criticize and condemn others. Other people become the object of their contempt. Let’s face it, if we judge and slander our siblings in Christ or our neighbors, we give the devil a handle in our lives. He is trying to destroy our relationships with one another and cause divisions and strife in the church.

These problems between Christians seem to be related to a rejection of God’s sovereignty and providence in one’s life. Look at verse 11b, “…Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.” If we slander or speak disparagingly about another, we are sitting on the judgment seat. The Bible teaches us not to judge others, but to repent ourselves. So, if we judge others, we are sitting in judgment on the law. We put ourselves above the law. One who slanders makes himself a mini-lawgiver and judge. In essence, they attack the Law of God, which is really an attack on God’s sovereignty, for it is his word and his law. James points the people to God, the One who is able to save and destroy. God is the law giver and the Sovereign Lord. We must live humbly before him which involves repenting of our slandering.

James asks a pointed question to be answered by our Christian conscience: “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” It is found in verse 12, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” Who do we think we are, slandering our neighbor?

How easy it is to slander our neighbor. Subconsciously, it is an attempt to make ourselves look more righteous in our own eyes. It is kind of a power trip. How foolish! We should not do this. How can we slander anyway? We don’t know the whole story. We are blinded by our own prejudices. What we may believe as true is not true. We are actually incapable of judging according to truth on our own. There may be so many circumstances concerning a person’s situation. We are not God. We are not the judges of others. I have done my fair share of slandering in the past and have regretted every sentence of it. I am thankful that Jesus forgives me.

Does Jesus ever slander us? No. He says things like, “I love you my precious child.”, “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Many times, he is silent. Jesus is very inclusive, kind and truthful. He sees, hears and speaks with truth and compassion.

Slandering also damages our Christian witness among the people around us. Do you think that people will be impressed and attracted to the Gospel when they hear our slandering? I don’t think so. They will think we are double minded.

Our slandering is actually unchristian. We need to tame our tongues and use them to praise the Lord and build others up. James 3:7-9 reads, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” This sums it up so eloquently. Lord, save me from slanderous words and help me to be an encouragement to all people.

Prayer: “Father, help me to submit to you and resist the devil today. I want to draw near you; please draw near to me. Help me to love others instead of judging them.”

One Word: Submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee

Interact with us using Facebook

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.