Text: — James 4:7-10 — 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. [NIV84]
The Big Idea: James informs us to repent and humble ourselves.
Scripture doesn’t present a concise formula for deliverance, but this passage is the closest to such. James apparently offers three essentials to deliverance: Submit, Resist, and Draw Near (aka “Come Near”). How does one submit, resist and draw near? Well, as we keep reading, James clarifies: repent and humble ourselves…. Pretty simple, right?
If we are honest with ourselves, Lifestyle worshipers, we will humbly admit that this is not really as easy as a one, two, three formula. First, to submit to God, we need to confess that there is only One God and we are not He. Secondly, in resisting the devil, we need to consciously, actively apply opposing pressure to any form of temptation. (This is in place of trying to see how close to the line we can get without sinning.) Thirdly, drawing near to the Lord is a repentance ‘thing’. There are two possible approaches, but both end with the same result: (1) I either turn from my sin to the Lord; or (2) I turn to the Lord from my sin. The former focuses on how sinful I am, as James clearly presents in vv. 8-9; the latter focuses on how much the Lord Loves me which James hints at in v. 10, but is made clear by other passages in the Word.
So, there you have a “formula” for deliverance. Once we’ve submitted to the Lord, resisted the devil and come near to the Lord, the devil and all his minions must flee from us. They no longer have any claim to us. We are the Lord Jesus Christ’s Holy possession, sanctified and made useful for His work. Have you applied these essentials in your life? I have—many times over the years. I have found relief and release from spiritual bondage, and I know you can, too. Your thoughts?
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
— John 8:31-32 (NIV84)
—Ephesians 6-11 (NIV84)
—1 John 3:8 (NIV84)
Heavenly Father, I humbly submit to You. Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to empower me through Your Holy Spirit to resist the evil one. I humbly draw near to You with a repentant heart: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your power and by Your shed blood, I confess _______ (those sins that have entangled me and so easily hinder me). I have sinned grievously against You. I ask You, Lord Jesus Christ, to bear the consequences of my actions. Remove the pain and shame I have caused Your Name. Be that part of my life that has been disobedient and in bondage to this ______ (these sins). I release myself into Your hands. In Your Name, Amen.