Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
I recently returned from a trip to Utah to visit a good friend of mine for a week. She owns a few homes in southern Utah, and we stayed in two of them while I was there.
One is in the tiny town of Brian Head, which is up in the mountains at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet. Its principal attraction is the ski resort. We stayed there every night except one, because the temperature was so wonderfully cool, particularly at night. However, the last night we stayed in her home in Cedar City, because it was closer to the shuttle that would take me to the airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
My friend’s home in Cedar City is more than one hundred years old. According to my friend, it is haunted. She has lived there for at least ten years, and while not much has happened during that time, there have been a few strange occurrences, particularly in the earlier years. She has a transom window above her back door that would close itself from time to time. And several years ago, she sent me a photo of a broom which was standing up by itself in the middle of one of her rooms.
Needless to say, I have never been thrilled to stay in her home. In fact, I have never slept well there. This is not to say that anything has happened while I’ve been there…it’s been as peaceful as my own home, yet the thought of something lurking has always set me on edge.
That said, it has irked me to know that I am a Christian who loves God with my whole heart, and still, I let such things get to me. I have stayed there a number of times through the years, and you’d think I’d finally make peace with the whole thing, but that last night in Cedar City a week ago, I was up until about 2 a.m., unable to settle in.
While sleepless, I read my Bible. In fact, the Lord spoke to me and said to read Psalm 27, which I did. It was wonderfully applicable. I prayed. And for the record, I have prayed over my friend’s house, both while there and remotely over the years. In fact, she has not reported any strange occurrences for quite some time. Why, then, do I not feel the confidence of the power of my prayers, and God’s faithful tending of me?
I began to research the verse above. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. How do we resist the devil? What exactly is required?
First, I looked at the preceding verse. But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(James 4:6) The word “humble” is translated from the Greek word “Tapeinos,” which means to recognize our sinfulness as our true condition. My Keyword Study Bible gives this example for “tapeinos”: “Jesus in His incarnate state in recognizing His absolute dependence on the Father.”
If we look then, at the first sentence in the next verse, Submit therefore to God, it becomes a little clearer. The word “submit” means “to place in an orderly fashion under.”
What does all of this boil down to? We are to be humble, recognize our absolute dependence on the Father, and get ourselves under Him. This, in and of itself, is what “resisting the devil” is all about.
Isn’t that incredible? By being humble, recognizing our dependence on the Father, and getting ourselves under Him, we have already resisted the devil. It is already done. There is no further work required. We don’t have to stand there with our chest out, our teeth bared and our feet firmly planted. The battle is the Lord’s! If we have placed ourselves in humble dependence under God, the devil will have to go through the Almighty first to get to us! And he’d be about as effective as a mouse against a mammoth.
What an amazing truth. Humility before God=strength before the devil. Power in weakness. Just as Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Praise be to God.