Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 ESV
One of the most quoted scriptures by those who identify as “Christians” is the second half of the above verse; Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. As I was looking up where that verse was in the Bible, something strange happened. I realized that there is a statement before that, almost a condition, an “If, Then” statement. Let me paraphrase this verse, “If you submit yourselves to God, THEN you can RESIST THE DEVIL….” This is a critical to understand and a major reason why the church, today in America, is so impotent and similar to the World. WE seem to have no power to thwart the WILES OF THE DEVIL. Since the dawn of time, the devil has been out there scheming to take down the believer. He loves to torment us and does a great job tempting us into sin. The original sin was Lucifer in the heavenlies and NOT, man in the Garden. Lucifer was the FIRST SINNER! When did time begin? Time began when there became MORE than ONE WILL! Satan rebelled, he wanted some of God’s glory, and was cast out of Heaven and this CHOICE was like a ‘domino’ effect- as sin, like yeast, rose into the Garden of Eden, allowing for Man’s original sin. See Ezekiel 28:13-15 and Genesis 3. The Bible says that in the last days Satan will get angrier, and chaos will increase. Watch the news- WE ARE HERE! The Time is NOW to get RIGHT with GOD so we can RESIST THE DEVIL! The Bible was written in Hebrew, Syriac, Greek and a few other “older” languages. Depending on when the oral traditions were put in print, and depending on the “language” of the day, that dictated what language the Bible was written in. In the translation to other languages, there are not always “Word for Word” translations- that is why we have so many “translations” of the Bible, because English is a limited language compared to so many others. To truly apply the Bible as God instructed, we need to go back to the original language! Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)
Leader, let us focus on the Greek word, Hypotagēte, it has a meaning of; to subordinate; reflexively, to obey. There are 3 different translations of that word into English that most of the translations use; Submit, be subject to, and, to humble. Let us examine these three words, so we can understand what we need to do to have power over the devil’s schemes, his WILES. From the KJV dictionary: Submit; To yield one’s opinion to the opinion or authority of another. To acquiesce in the authority of another, to be submissive; to yield without murmuring. Google’s dictionary defines submission as ” the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person”. Hebrews 13:7 says, ‘have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you’. Websters defines ‘subject to’ as: Placed or situated under; lying below, or in a lower situation, placed under the power of another; specifically (International Law), owing allegiance to a particular sovereign or state, obedient; submissive, that which is placed under the authority, dominion, control, or influence of something else. “Subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. Ye have heard that it was said to the ancients, Thou shalt not kill; but whosoever shall kill shall be subject to the judgment. (Ephesians and Matthew 5:21) Christianity.com defines humility in this way; Humility is often characterized as genuine gratitude and a lack of arrogance, a modest view of one’s self. However, the biblical definition of humility goes beyond this. Humility is a critical and continuous emphasis of Godliness in the Bible, as we are called upon to be humble followers of Christ and trust in the wisdom and salvation of God.
Conduit, let us go deeper into humility. Humility is so lacking in today’s America and today’s church. We are so wrapped up in our rights, who has privilege, what is fair and unfair- it is all about us, we live in the ME generation. The most common photo today is the SELFIE! Yet, God tells us to HUMBLE ourselves and make it about HIM! It is written: If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) James is considered the most practical book in the Bible, three times in 4 verses, James tells us to HUMBLE ourselves. But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. (James 4:6,10) As a great leader, Jesus did this first, before He asked us to follow His lead. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9) When we submit, subject, humble and surrender to GOD- then we have the POWER, the COVERING, the NAME\BLOOD of Jesus! When we submit, subject, surrender. and humble ourselves to Christ on this side of eternity…we can NOT ONLY resist the devil and he will flee. And we will also be HIS CHILD. A child of the King is called a Prince or a Princess! Scripture clearly tells us, IF WE are one of His, then the devil needs either God the Father or Jesus’ permission to “mess with us”. See Job 1:12, 2:6 and Luke 22:31-32) Let us rejoice today for two reasons. First, God has equipped us for this battle. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Secondly let us rejoice in the name and work of Jesus! Jesus told us He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He is our example, and HE IS OUR GLORY! Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9) Praise Jesus, Maranatha! Live today, Coram Deo!