“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10).
All believers are to be subject to God twenty-four hours a day, not just on Sundays. To be subject to Him means to obey Him. We lay the foundation of obedience by establishing a spiritual fitness program. A good way of doing this is to create a journal listing the amount of time you spend each day in prayer, hearing the Word, reading it, studying it, memorizing it and meditating on it. It is also helpful to keep track of the times you share the gospel, and teach the Word as well as fellowship with the brethren. Doing these things will draw us closer to God each day.
Start small and build from there. A good starting point would be to pray ten minutes a day, read the Bible ten minutes and listen to at least one half-hour Bible message each day. A one-hour Bible study each week would be a good place to start. Memorizing just one verse a week, and meditating on the Word ten minutes a day would be a good starting place. You cannot set a specific number of people to share the gospel with each day or week, but you can set a goal and record the results. You may only share the gospel with one person a week or a month. Keep a record of it, and watch how the Lord will give you more opportunities. He who is faithful in a little will be given more (Luke 16.10).
If you are a parent you should be teaching your children the Word and praying with them every day:
“And these words, which I command you today shall be on your heart, and you shall repeat them to your sons, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk in the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7).
Just 15 minutes a day would be good starting point. And husbands should spend at least 15 minutes a day studying the Word and praying with their wives. If you are to busy for that you need to cut something out of your schedule and rearrange your priorities.
God commands all believers to “stimulate each other to love and good deeds,” and not to forsake our “assembling together” (Hebrews 10.24-25). How can you stimulate the brethren if you are not involved in Christian ministries?
This is just the beginning â€“ it is the first step. This is the first act of humbling ourselves before God. From here believers are to expand their obedience by giving joyfully to the work of the Lord (2 Corinthians 9.7), volunteering to do the work of the Lord, evangelism, showing hospitality to the brethren and the poor in the community, setting up a program to reach out to the community, etc.
You cannot oppose the devil until you submit to God. The only way we can defeat him is to be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT by being born-again by the Spirit of God. Once we are filled with the SPIRIT we can actively oppose the devil.
Most versions translate the Greek word anthistemi as “resist.” This gives the impression that we are on the defensive, and resist him when he attacks. We must never be on the defensive. Rather we are to be on the offensive, and be constantly aware of the devil and his gang of fallen angels. The word anthistemi should be translated “set against” or “to cause to stand” (Vine’s). All believers are in a war against the devil and his gang (Ephesians 6.12), and we are to remain alert at all times. We are never to retreat or take a spiritual vacation. When we do, we backslide and sometimes some of us never come out of it.
The spiritual armor we use in this war is offensive (Ephesians 6.13-17). The defensive pieces of our armor are the helmet of salvation and our shield of faith. We are to actively oppose every program the devil launches to deceive mankind from believing the truth of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4.4), such as false religions, atheism, humanism, feminism, evolutionism, communism, socialism, hedonism, phenomenology (situation ethics), murder on demand (abortion/euthanasia), pornography, etc.
We are commanded to destroy speculations and every lofty thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10.5). The speculations and lofty things are the “isms” noted above.
We are to draw near to God by obeying Him. As noted in the previous verse we should put together a spiritual fitness program and stick to it. As we obey the Lord in this He will enable us to increase our time of fellowship with Him and the brethren, and give us greater responsibilities in His service. You cannot draw near to God any other way.
Going to “church” or revival meetings and other activities is not necessarily drawing near to God. Going to every meeting you can, might even be a way of running away from God. It is about the personal time you spend with God, cultivating a personal relationship with Him.
We must also learn to hate sin (Proverbs 8.13) for until we hate sin we will be tempted by it and succumb to it. The way to develop a strong hatred of sin is to spend more and more time in the Word and in prayer, along with fellowship with the brethren, sharing the gospel with the lost, and avoiding situations where you can be tempted.
We must also purify our hearts to keep from being double-minded. It is a condition in which many believers live in “two different worlds, the spiritual realm and the world of the flesh” at the same time. You cannot be filled with the SPIRIT and live a double life, serving God and mammon (Matthew 5.24).
We are to consider spiritual things, especially the importance of sharing the gospel with the lost rather than worry about the things of the world. Too many believers rarely stop to think about the fate that awaits the lost as they go through the day.
There is nothing wrong in being happy and laughing as long as it is not a result of fulfilling one’s lusts. Unfortunately, many believers spend too much time fulfilling their sinful lusts, laughing and making merry just as the lost do. The time is past for us to chase after the lusts of the world (1 Peter 4.2-3). Instead, we are to suffer in the flesh to stop sinning (1 Peter 4.1).
Believers need to spend more time in solemn contemplation of the fate of the wicked. If we did we would get fired up for the Lord and do what He commanded us to do: “Going therefore, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the HOLY SPIRIT, teaching them to observe all things whatever I commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age” (Matthew 28.19-20).
All believers are to actively humble themselves before God. This is not a suggestion it is a command. Until a believer does this he will not be used to full capacity by the Lord. The first step in being filled with the HOLY SPIRIT is to humble oneself.
You humble yourself by putting God and His work first. In this way you draw nearer to God every day. You then must put His righteousness and kingdom first (Matthew 6.33) and be willing to go wherever or do whatever He asks you to do.