"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Resist - This word is made up of two Greek words, anti (meaning "against") and histemi (meaning "to stand"). Therefore, we get "to stand against". This word finds its way into English in the word "antihistamine" (a substance that blocks production of certain chemicals). The key to understanding this word is the grammar. It is aorist, active, second person, plural. That means it is a single action, actively engaged in, personal, for every one of us. In others words, James is saying that each one of us is called to actively take a stand against the devil to make that stand a deliberate effort in our lives. This is not passive dismissal. It is not looking the other way or avoiding. It is the role of the peacemaker from the Beatitudes to stand in harm's way for the sake of the kingdom.
But notice what James does not say. He does not say, "Fight!" He says, "Stand!" Don't fall down, don't collapse, don't give in. Just stand against evil. God will do the fighting, you do the resisting. The picture we need to have in mind is the protester who stands in front of the approaching tank, no weapons, no conflict just resistance by placing himself in the way.
And look at the promise. "He will flee from you". The word is pheuxomai. It means "run away from danger" (I know we only do one word a day but this is important). Do you see how powerful it is to just stand against evil? God says that when we take this stand, the devil runs away because he knows he is in danger. Without a shot fired, without any battle fought, we win. He runs. He is scared to death of the person who stands on trust in God. There is an old Sunday school song that goes, "Standing on the promises of Christ my King". That is all we need. We might have to stand quite awhile, but the victory is certain. It is a promise.
STAND UP TODAY! Let God put you in harm's way and watch the devil run.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" James 4:8
Draw - Eggisate is the Greek word that means "come close at hand". The English word "progress" comes from this root. It is combined in a special phrase eggizo to Theo (meaning "draw near to God") that is used for offering sacrifices in worship. Drawing near to God means worshipping God. You can't get any closer than that.
James has just told us to submit to God (place yourself under Him), stand up against evil and the devil will run away (yesterday's verse James 4:7). Now he tells us to get as close as possible to God. All of these ideas deal with movement. Put yourself in a place stand come close. This is the perfect physical picture of how we are to live. Start by bending your knee to God. Put yourself in the right place. Then, don't be lazy. Get up. Stand in front of evil. Make your presence known. Watch the devil run away. And return to bending your knee - come close to God in worship. And guess what? God will get up close and personal with you.
So many times in my life I felt removed from God's presence. I knew that I believed but I did not feel close. Now I see that many of those times I was just hiding out. I was avoiding some encounter with the devil, hoping it would go away. God was waiting for me to stand up and be counted. Not grit my teeth and fight. Just resist. Push back. Stake my claim. And worship. We know that the context of worship is bending the knee in reverence and awe. First I stand. I watch God's power chase away my enemy. Then I get on my knees in thanksgiving and praise. And what do you know, God comes close to me.
Remember "progress". There is progress hidden in these words. Submit - stand watch worship. Make progress your goal today.
by Skip Moen