I was reading a rather lenghty article yesterday and there were two portions of it that gave me pause and prompted me to study James 4:7 a bit more. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
I use this Scripture in prayer ALL THE TIME! This posture is KEY to victory over anything and everything that we're praying for. The posture of our hearts with the understanding we don't do anything in vain when it comes to being obedient to God's Word.
Evey single one of us has days that test our love and our faith. There are people and moments in life that press all our buttons at once and sometime, if we're not careful, before we know it we can end up doing and saying things we later wish we hadn't.
In James 4:7, God's Word offers us a surefire method to avoid falling into that trap over and over again. It says....
"Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Now, notice that there is a very critical step that must be taken...before we even begin to deal with the devil. Before we can resist him or rebuke him, before we even have one iota of ability to make him flee, we must submit ourselves to God.
Submission is power. It is how God transfers His way of doing things into our lives. You see, God knows how to handle the devil. If we submit to Him, He will always give us the grace, strength, and wisdom we need to successfully make the devil flee. The flesh always wants what it wants, but the more we learn to lean on our spirit instead of our flesh, the more joyful and peaceful our lives will turn out to be.
What should I submit to God? Submit what you believe. Submit what you speak. Submit what you do. In all three of these areas, submitting ourselves to God requires that we put ourselves second to His way of doing things. It requires us to recognize the areas where we lean to a more carnal mindset.
God challenges us to renew our mind to His Word. How do we do it? By spending time each day putting the Word of God into our spirit. hat's how we grow and mature.
Romans 12:2 tells us: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The word RENEW is translated from the Greek word "anakainōsis" which means: a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better
So, we should ask ourselves, what do I believe? Be honest. Remember that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (as we read earlier). If our beliefs are at odds with God's ways, we will need to renew our mind more with the Word so that our thoughts can be elevated.
Romans 8:6 says: For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Once we know what we believe, then ask yourself what do you speak? Remember that sound words bring LIFE - and God's Word contains the soundest words that have ever been thought or spoken. We are setting ourselves up for blessings when we pray to God, submitting ourselves to His ways, and let His sound words come out of our mouth. We are literally drawing life into the situations we are dealing with.
Proverbs 18:21 says: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Next comes the action - what will you do? We can't just believe and talk, we must act on the Word. In other words, obedience is better than sacrifice. Simply doing what we already know to do. Then, as we read the Word and more of God's wisdom is revealed to us, add to what we know. Go a little further. Do a little more. Our lives will be best when we believe the Word, speak the Word and act the Word. THAT is submission to God.
So if the first step is submitting ourselves to God, then what is the next step? It is resisting the devil. Resisting is about being resolute. It is NOT about fighting, it's about refusing to budge.
You see, just because an emotion rises up doesn't mean we have to follow it to the end. If we submit ourselves to God, we can stop. If not, then our flesh will likely run wild and cause us all sorts of future trouble.
When we make a choice to live according to our spirit, we are making the same choice to resist the devil and our flesh nature when it is lured by temptation.
The devil is already defeated. So, we don't fight him again and again. No, you walk on him! We take our authority by the the horns and resist whatever mess he is throwing our way. We make a quality decision, in the heat of the moment even, to lean to the Spirit of God within us. We choose not to cave to the devil or our base nature, but to instead rise up and line up with the winner, God.
This means we don't have to pray and beg God to get us out - no, He made a way out when He sent His Son to the cross. Now, we just have to realize our authority, use His Word, and enforce the devil's defeat. When we pray, say what God has already done. Say what we want instead of what we currently have. We speak the end result. Every time we do this, we are enforcing satans defeat by reiterating the point that God has already won. We are the victor because we serve the Victor!
John 6:63 says: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life
Romans 4:17 says: (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations" in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did
Now, this goes against our mind sometimes, but that's OK. The natural man doesn't understand the things of God...but the submitted person does! The submitted person realizes the power of the Spirit and how it can totally affect natural situations.
So, resisting the devil is about refusing to bend to the pressure of anything. It's refusing to budge off of what God already said we could have and do in His Word. Resisting is refusing to allow circumstances to dictate what we believe and how we will act.
God is on our side and if His Word is in our heart, it will come out of our mouth and if His Word is in our heart, it will come out of our mouth - and it will act like a two-edged sword cutting the devil's plans down. It will help us to resist falling into temptation. It will help us to keep our head held high when the attack is on. It will help us to ride out the storm unscathed.
Don't bend to the pressure of time. What we want may not happen today. It may not happen tomorrow. But it will happen! We will receive, if we faint not! Remember that resisting is not doing anything at all - it's an effort, but it is a worthy one because through 1) submitting and 2) resisting, we will see your spiritual victory play out in the natural world.
When we DO God's Word, it is always a win-win situation.
Father, I ask You to HELP US to submit to You and to resist the devil in every prayer we have before You. HELP US to speak what You do and nothing else. HELP US to KNOW that Heaven and Earth WILL pass away, but Your Word will NOT pass away. HELP US to see ourselves walking in total victory of everything we are praying for because YOU ARE FAITHFUL TO YOUR WORD, in Jesus' Name.