James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary:SUBMIT', v.i. To surrender; to yield one's person to the power of another; to give up resistance. The enemy submitted.
Who are we “giving up resistance” to?
Vincent Word Studies:Submit yourselves (ὑποτάγητε)
Rev., be subject. The verb means to place or arrange under; as resist (Jam_4:6) is to array against. God sets himself in array against the proud; therefore, array yourselves under God, that ye may withstand the devil.
Who are we arrayed against?
Some of us have it the other way around, as Christians, without realizing it. We submit to the accusations, doubts, fears, etc. of the enemy as he pours them into our mind overwhelming our hearts, and resist the Lord by not believing His promises. We give ourselves up to depression, fear, despair, doubt, hopelessness, temptation, etc. we think by struggling with those things with all our strength and finally in despair feeling we just must not even be saved, because we are hopeless against them that somehow we are trying our best to resist the enemy, and we think this is the struggle we must do to resist him, but in fact are submitting to him and resisting God by listening to him and not God. We are putting more faith in what he says than what God says.
How can we turn it around? By realizing first of all, Who your Savior is. He is the One Who saves, not you. He is the One Who died for You. He is the One Who made the way to become your security, to save you to the uttermost, to hold you, to train you, to keep you, and all that is under your care. He is love. By believing that, rather than resisting that by believing the doubts and fears of the enemy, we submit to Him in faith. Only faith is true submission to Him. No matter how many doubts and fears cause us to dread, we must turn our hearts and minds to Christ Jesus believing His Word, and knowing Who He is, to enter into His dwelling place where He can protect us by believing His Word. When we believe His Word, our hearts are submitted to Him.
Our human tendency is to let our emotions be our leader, submitting to them, rather than submitting our emotions to what God says, and Who He is. Do you believe He is big enough, strong enough, powerful enough for your circumstances? Than rather than looking inward at how helpless you are, look upward, at how powerful He is. Resist—set yourself in array against—those doubts, those fears, those burdens that you think you must bear—purposefully, deliberately, submitting, or surrendering them under the power of God and His power and purposes, by believing Him. Does He care for you? Does He love you? Hasn’t He shown that by pouring Himself out on the cross for you? Did He also do that for those you are concerned about and care for? Is there anything too hard for Him? Is your salvation too difficult for Him? Are you a special case that is just too much for Him? Are you more special than any other human being He died for, so that somehow you don’t fit under His promises to care for His own?
Can you see that it is an insult to the Lord when we don’t trust Him to care for those things that affect us? That means everything. We have to get in the habit of submitting ourselves in EVERY SINGLE CARE to Him, and resist the enemy.
The enemy brings us very believable and substantial doubts, fears, causing us to think we have failed, we are not worthy, we are not measuring up, we cannot do this, this is too difficult for us, we just can’t handle it, etc.. Notice where all the thoughts go. Are they on what God can do? They are all about us. But when we turn them to the Lord, reading in His Word all about His goodness, His mercy, His righteousness, His being all-powerful, all-loving, and about His love being demonstrated to the utmost as He poured Himself out for the unworthy and helpless and disgustingly sinful, then we are able to be lifted above what we are—what we see in ourselves—to Who He is, and What He has promised to do for His own.
We can’t always control our feelings, but God is not speaking to our emotions. He is speaking to our will. We need to submit ourselves to Him by faith, trusting what He said, and not what the enemy says, resisting what the enemy says by doing that. That is a deliberate action of the will. Emotions are a thing we must learn to ignore and if we turn in submission to listen and take in only what God says, emotions will follow. If we wait for our emotions somehow to submit to God, it will never happen, as the enemy is an expert at manipulating our emotions. He must laugh as he is able to get God’s children all in a tizzy so easily, and off from the God Who poured Himself out for them. But our Heavenly Father must grieve so over His children’s lack of faith in His care, just as we would grieve if our children would not trust our love for them. How much more can He do to convince us of His love? We must submit to it in order to enjoy it. He has already given it. Rather than waiting to feel it, enter into it by believing in it and trusting Him! Let God’s truth drive you, not your emotions.
As we resist the enemy by submitting in faith to listen to what God says, rather than all the voices of the enemy or inward doubts and fears, He has to flee because pretty soon his tactics are useless. They don’t make their mark. We are under the wings of the Almighty, taking in His Word and abiding there by believing Him.
Ephesians tells us to stand there, submitted to God, resisting the enemy with GOD’S armor, not our own…
Eph 6:13 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Eph 6:14 “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”
Eph 6:15 “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”
Eph 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Eph 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”
Eph 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
Yes, once we submit and resist, we must stand. So often we submit, resist, and then go back to listening to the wind and waves around us, looking at them rather than God. It is all by faith in Who Jesus is, and What He has done, not in whether or not we are worthy, are able, or what we have done or can do. In submitting first to God, by faith, it is He Who is able to pick us up…
1 Peter 5:5b “…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1Pe 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
1Pe 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
1Pe 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
1Pe 5:9 “Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
1Pe 5:10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.”
Again, submitting is first of all putting our faith, not in the enemies lies and tauntings and twistings of our heart and mind, but in His Word—His truth. As we do that, He causes us to stand, and by standing we are able to truly walk in His Spirit and then be His vessel, free from our own care, and able to do what He would desire to do in us and through us.
Lord, give us grace this day to look away from all our cares, truly submitting them under Your purposes and power, and forgive us for doubting Your perfect faithfulness and love to us. Forgive us when we think of You as a hard taskmaster, and enable us to truly see You and know You in Your perfect love and care. Help us to realize when we fear failing you, it is really a fear that You can fail us. In Jesus name I ask it. Amen
The Law of The Spirit of Life
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
We no longer live by our flesh if we are in Christ... a new law has taken the place of the old. We now live by the life of the Spirit of life indwelling us – unto Christ – by faith in Him alone. Our new life is according to the Spirit, Who now abides in us, empowering us; not a life walking after or according to the flesh…(John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:)
...and Who motivates us, (Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.)
...and Who is the very life force within us and ability to live unto God... the "resurrection power" of Christ Himself within us, rising us from death to law and this world, and our sinful flesh, to live unto Christ. (Galatians 2:19-20, Ephesians 1 and 2)
Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
To try to live under the "law of sin and death" – trying to keep the law as our means of righteousness – which brings forth sin, as well as its condemnation, is as much a walking according to the flesh, as to live in outright sinfulness. Neither are acceptable to God. The flesh can never save itself! A new law for the believer – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus rules us. Abba, Father! Teach us Your way! We don't live by our own flesh any longer, but by the indwelling, motivating, enabling grace, resurrection power, very life of the Holy Spirit. No righteousness is in us... our flesh. Only the righteousness of Christ in us, by His work, counts for anything. To accept our own efforts of self-righteousness is to bring down or degrade the standard of God to less than perfection. To try to keep the law, fall under condemnation, confess, do our best, and think God accepts that standard somehow, and that that is our righteousness – to think we ever measure up to it is to bring down His standard. To acknowledge... confess, agree with Him that there is sin in us and we have no righteousness of our own, and to look only to His, is how we are to rely on Him by faith. By looking to His standard – Christ Himself – the only righteousness acceptable to God – by faith, He enables us to walk in the light of that righteousness, because we are truly free from the law of sin and death. We are ruled by His love in our hearts then.
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Those who come to Christ are liberated from the bankruptcy of vain human resources unto the richness of abundant spiritual treasures. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells... Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Rom_7:18 and Eph_1:3).
Before we can truly walk in righteousness, we first have to see we have none at all, no matter how hard we try. We have to quit relying on our own. We are not able to walk according to love, as long as we walk under bondage to law and duty – sin and death. When we are truly free, we are truly able to walk in love, by love, pushed on and compelled in His love as His love constrains our hearts.
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
1Jn 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Abba, may Your Word of life, by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, fill our hearts with understanding, and enable us to live a life of freedom – freedom to live by Your love, trusting the righteousness of Christ and love of Christ to work in us and through us. Amen!
Meditating On and Practicing His Word
Psa 105:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psa 105:2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Psa 105:3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Psa 105:4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psa 105:5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, (ESV)
Have you ever thought of taking a Psalm, or portion of Scripture, going through it verse by verse, and thinking on, and putting into action that portion as your worship to the Lord? I invite you to do that today. It is a blessing to take God’s Word into our heart of hearts and make it our practice. I believe that is the reason it is given! In doing so you gain so much more than just reading it, agreeing with it, and then walking away from and forgetting it. Make it your thought and action throughout the day and see if it does not lift you out of your circumstances into the heavenlies. I’ll be the first to say I need to do this more. I find, when I do, it chases away the clouds in my day and brings out the Son-shine.
The above Psalm is one I chose to do this with. Let’s look at the first verse. “Give thanks to the Lord”. Perfect place to start! I think it is so easy to go through our day without giving thanks to the Lord but instead to bring all our complaints before Him. In fact we are really unaware most of the time of just how much blessing He has given to us. Think of all that comes from His hand. Our life, our happiness, our comfort, daily provision, the people in our lives that love us, the job that provides for us, the strength to do that job, the little pleasures that give us enjoyment in life — every good and perfect gift comes from Him! No matter how bad things are, there are many blessings you have to be thankful for. Things could be worse! Thank God they are not. Look around you at all that you have, and enjoy, and all your abilities that enable you to enjoy life, and most of all thank Him for the great salvation that He has wrought for you by pouring out His own life and blood for you. Don’t take it for granted. Thank Him that He drew you to Himself and enabled you to find that salvation and know it for yourself.
Next – “Call upon His name”. From The Treasury of David -- “ ‘Call upon his name,’ or call him by his name; proclaim his titles and fill the world with his renown.” It is not a privilege we should take lightly that we can call upon His name. Through Jesus we have the privilege to call Him Abba – Father. That privilege did not come before Jesus.
1John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…
Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
To call upon His name is to declare that He is God, acknowledging Him, and that He is able. It is to declare your faith in Him because of Who He is, and to turn from trusting in yourself. We call upon His name because His name declares His faithfulness, holiness, and all that He is. We are not sufficient in ourselves, but He is sufficient for every need.
“Make known His deeds among the peoples”. Think on all the past deeds He has done in your own life as a Christian. Recount all the ways He has answered prayer, sustained you, upheld you, etc. and make those things known to others around you in some way. Let the world around you know the reason for the hope that is in you. Let your life and actions today show others the benefit of those deeds He has worked in your life. From The Treasury of David – “Let the heathen hear of our God, that they may forsake their idols and learn to worship him.”
Psa 105:2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! – How often do we sing to Him other than Sunday morning, with a song of praise in our hearts? Even if we are not musical our hearts can have a song of praise. After giving thanks, recounting His mighty works, thinking on Who He is… your heart will naturally be lifted up in worshipful praise and adoration, and oh how a song of praise to Him and about Him to others can change our whole perspective for the day, getting our minds off our own circumstances. It edifies us.
“Glory in His Holy name”. I love this one, because God’s name is Who He is. It is His character, His attributes. God has many names because there couldn’t be one name to describe Him. A study in God’s name will draw our hearts to Him in faith that He is the all-sufficient One for anything and everything we could possibly need. Dwelling on the attributes of God is the greatest faith builder I know of. And all we have is a small glimpse of Who He is. Savior, Counselor, Almighty, the God Who is present, the God Who sees, the God Who provides, Yahweh Ro’i, the Lord is my Shepherd, Yahweh Tsidkenu, our righteousness… etc.
From: Bible.org -- a study on the names of God with much more than I have room for here…
“Elohim: The plural form of EL, meaning “strong one.” It is used of false gods, but when used of the true God, it is a plural of majesty and intimates the trinity. It is especially used of God’s sovereignty, creative work, mighty work for Israel and in relation to His sovereignty (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; 8:15; Ps. 68:7).”
Oh how wonderful to glory in that name! From The Treasury of David:
“Make it a matter of joy that you have such a God. His character and attributes are such as will never make you blush to call him your God. Idolaters may well be ashamed of the actions attributed to their fancied deities, their names are foul with lust and red with blood, but Jehovah is wholly glorious; every deed of his will bear the strictest scrutiny; his name is holy, his character is holy, his law is holy, his government is holy, his influence is holy. In all this we may make our boast, nor can any deny our right to do so.”
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Wow! By the time we’ve gone through all the above, it is just natural now to seek the Lord, His strength, His presence, His face and we have faith to do so. Our hearts are built up in faith now to cast our cares on Him and to seek Him for what we need to go through our day. Our heart is in the right place. We are looking now to His will, His purpose, and eager to receive strength from Him to walk in it. We want to take that presence with us throughout the day and rely on that, and not ourselves. What a difference it makes in how we approach our day, and the people in our lives. Again from The Treasury of David –
“Put yourselves under his protection. Regard him not as a puny God, but look unto his omnipotence, and seek to know the power of his grace. We all need strength; let us look to the strong One for it. We need infinite power to bear us safely to our eternal resting-place, let us look to the Almighty Jehovah for it…
“…This seeking must never cease - the more we know the more we must seek to know. Finding him, we must ‘our minds inflame to seek him more and more.’ He seeks spiritual worshippers, and spiritual worshippers seek him; they are therefore sure to meet face to face ere long.”
And it is after meditating on Him, Who He is, giving thanks, calling on that name that we are truly able to receive that needed strength and power of grace. Too often we hastily ask for that strength without really abiding in Him to receive it. It is in Him alone. It isn’t something He gives apart from Himself. It is He Himself abiding in us – His abiding presence – that IS the power of grace.
Last, but not least – “Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” – What is the majority of your memories throughout the day. Do you have bad memories that you rehash now and then? Do you remember insults? Do you remember hurts, embarrassments, etc.? Try remembering instead His wondrous works. When your memories turn to the bad stuff, consciously turn them to remembering His works, His promises to you, His light given you in the night of your soul. Remember His provisions. Think on these things. When tempted to fear, remember His help in the past. So many things for us to remember! Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance those good things He has done.
Well, it’s so easy throughout our day to forget the wonderful Word we meditated on during the morning quiet time. There are ways to help us. Even to print out these verses on small cards that we can stick in our pockets or purses to pull out now and then. Or one that I like when I am at home is to hang them on my refrigerator or set them around the house to have there to look at.
Abba, Father, we come to you today asking – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14 – KJV)
“I can’t get no… satisfaction… but I try, and I try, and I try… I can’t get no… satisfaction!” Well, those of us who grew up hearing Mick Jagger sing that are very familiar with those words. How very sad they are! And sadly, that is the song in the souls of most of the world, as they constantly look to find satisfaction in this life. And sadder still, many Christians are almost as bad as the world in trying to find that satisfaction in this life rather than in their Lord. Like the world the cry of their heart is “I can’t get no satisfaction!”
I was amazed as I was reading in John today, of how Jesus fed the multitude miraculously, and how they totally missed the point. They sought after Him for that temporal satisfaction, but Jesus drew their attention to things eternal… things that truly satisfy!
John 6:25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
John 6:27 Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Without feeding on the Bread of Life – the Living Word – revealed to us in the written Word – there is no satisfaction – period!
From Clarke’s commentary:
”Ye seek me, not because ye saw, etc. - Though the miracle of the loaves was one of the most astonishing that ever was wrought upon earth; and though this people had, by the testimony of all their senses, the most convincing proof of its reality; yet we find many of them paid little attention to it, and regarded the omnipotent hand of God in it no farther than it went to satisfy the demands of their appetite! Most men are willing to receive temporal good from the hands of God; but there are few, very few, who are willing to receive spiritual blessings.”
They totally missed Who Jesus is in His deity and divine mission. That He was the very bread of life. We become so use to a temporal satisfaction, a temporal comfort, and happiness in our life, which constantly has to be continually sought after again and again, just like the woman at the well who had to keep coming back for more water, that we cannot think of our eternal souls. But then when those things are threatened and we no longer are able to feed on them, we find we must see beyond them to the “Bread of Life”. Jesus always makes us look beyond, to His eternal view, His eternal satisfaction, that begins here and now as we are filled with Him, feeding on Him, abiding in Him, and drinking from His Spirit.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
As we look around us this world is full of proof that men living to seek self-satisfaction, will never find it. They kill for it. They destroy each other’s reputations and lives for it. They ruin their own lives because of their insatiable hunger at all costs to fill their appetites. Wars happen because of it. Nations are destroyed because of it. Men cry for peace but find no peace but only more and more hatred, war, and destruction in their zeal for it. They use one another and abuse one another, all to satisfy their own cravings. Those cravings are there because of the soul God gave us that can only be filled with Him. We are never going to be sufficient in ourselves to satisfy that soul. Only God is sufficient in Himself. He alone “has life in Himself”. Our life comes only from Him.
John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
How foolish for us to try to find life in ourselves or to be our own god! As if we could create one single thing out of nothing. And that is what we have… nothing… unless it comes from Him. Are we drifting from the Bread of Life in our Christianity? Are we disregarding His living Word and drinking from other cisterns? “The Secret”, so popular today, is no secret, but an old lie – that we can be our own god -- that we can have what we want, and be what we want to be. Many Christians will think to themselves they are looking to the Bread of Life, and not the world. But are you really? Even if you are a Christian and going to church each Sunday, what is your “satisfaction”? Is it the Bread of Life that you feed on daily, no matter what happens to disturb your life, or how bleak and dark the world looks, or what insecurities or fears surround? Are you truly being satisfied with the Jesus of the Bible, or have you looked for another one that gives you everything you want in this world, and trying to set up an earthly kingdom? The crowd wanted their material needs met and saw Jesus as someone who would set up an earthly kingdom and make Israel a rich nation once again, give them security on earth and never let them go without. He disappointed many of them when they discovered that was not His mission. Men first had to receive Spiritual life from Him, and righteousness from Him, before they could find the satisfaction that would make them a part of His kingdom for eternity. How sad to give that up for so much less, and so temporary!!!
MY PAST DEVOTIONALS