James 4:6-8 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Yesterday’s RTS dealt with pride and humility of verse 6 and for that reason we will not go through that again. However, the statements made by James in verse 7 and 8 really are continuations of thoughts and so it is displayed for context.
James started off on verse 6 by stating that God gives us more grace. God’s mercy and blessings are certainly something that we all need more and more of in our lives. In order for us to be given these blessings, we are told the conditions on which they are granted.
1. Submit Yourself to God:
First, let’s understand what “submit” means. Submit: to give over or yield to the power or authority of another. Submission really goes against our nature, especially as Americans. We do not like giving up the power to ANYONE. However, if we want the grace of God, and all of the blessings that come with it, we must learn to make God our Lord and master and have him direct our lives.
2. Resist the Devil:
The concept is really easy. The application is eternally far from easy. We are told simply to flee from Satan. When we think about the principle that is used here, it makes perfect sense. If a salesman has 3 prospective customers, the first has stated he is ready to order, the second says that he really likes the products but has a few questions and the third likes the product but thinks they are too expensive; which do you think the salesman will focus on? Of course he will spend time on the first two because the chances of making a sale are far greater. The same principle applies with Satan. If we continue to resist him, he will spend his time with lower hanging fruit!
3. Draw Near to God:
Like resisting the devil, this is more difficult than many assume. Drawing near to God is not just saying that we believe in God. Drawing near is more than posting pro-God Facebook posts or wearing a cross around our necks. Drawing near to God is a lifestyle that is required. It is walking in the light as he is in the light (1 John 1:7) It is understanding WHO God is and then molding our lives to be as much like him as humanly possible. It is being obedient to his will (John 14:15). We cannot simply have a positive attitude about God all the while living the life of our choosing.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
As Paul tells the church at Rome, we must live as a living sacrifice. But when we do, when we draw near to God, he will draw near to us!
4. Cleanse Your Hands & Purify Your Hearts:
Part of drawing near to God is to deal with sin in our lives. Sin has always been the problem and will always be the problem between us and God. Until we have our sin washed away, we will never be able to have a relationship with God. Once we have our sins washed away initially and become children of God, we still have a responsibility to avoid sin in our lives.
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?