November 10, 2023 – Friday
James 4:7-8 NKJV
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify yourhearts, you double-minded.
James 4:7-8 NASB
7 Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded [or chronic doubters].
James 4:7 has long been a favorite of mine where I found many people remembered the second part, Resist the devil and he will flee from you, while forgetting or ignoring the first part, Therefore submit to God. It is as if God is giving us a three-step plan, first Submit yourself to God, second resist the devil, and third he will flee from you. I love both the simplicity and the directness of the order of events. Submission to God must come first if any resistance against the devil is going to succeed. And if one has submitted to God prior to resisting the devil, why the devil will indeed flee.
Guzik writes, “Significantly, James does not recommend that demons should be cast out of believers by a third party. Instead, James simply challenges individual Christians to deal with Satan as a conquered foe who can and must be personally resisted.” This is really great as it puts the onus on each of us to stand against the lies and deceptions of the devil and his minions. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the word resist comes from two Greek words: stand and against. We best resist by putting on the full armor of God in standing against the devil. Then we have the promise the devil will flee from us.
Next, we have the first clause of verse 8, 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. This is tied directly to the prior verse as it is impossible to submit to God and resist the devil without drawing near to God. So, we have here an invitation and a promise that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. There are many rewards in drawing near to God, but first the rest of verse 8, Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. The cleansing and purifying begin as we draw near to God. We cannot do so without being convicted of our sin and being led to repent. The sinner James is writing about is a hardened sinner as the word used for sinner, hamartolos, means a hardened sinner.
Such a person who has been double-minded or a chronic doubter will find repentance spiritually painful. That is why the next verse begins with 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Then continues with, Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Then something amazing begins to happen as God draws near, verse 10, 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Why and how this happens is explained by Jesus in Luke 18:14b, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Bottom Line: Submit to God and as you do, you will draw near to Him as He draws near to you. Let deep felt repentance follow and then feel God’s loving grace.
Prayer: Almighty God, With You I can resist the devil and all his temptations when I truly submit to You and draw near to You. Help me to continually draw near and nearer to You, bringing me to more repentance and more of Your Grace. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Still writing and working for the Glory of God