Do you have a stronghold in your life? If you have a problem area that you have wrestled with for years, a habit you are unable to break, or an issue that keeps popping up again and again – chances are you have a stronghold. There is only one way to become free: turn it over to the Lord. Surrender yourself and the issue to God.
Naturally, we are independent and stubborn. We struggle with a lot of things that we don’t have to struggle with. It’s like the parent who tries to help their child, but the child snatches away and says, “No! I can do it myself.” The child wants to prove they don’t need mommy or daddy’s help. So the parent stands by, patiently waiting for the child to ask for help. The parent sees the solution, but they will not force the child to accept their help. Eventually the child becomes frustrated to the point of tears, and with tears in their eyes, they ask the parent for help.
We are like that child. We want to show God, “I’m a big kid! I can do it!” Yet, our Heavenly Father is wiser and He sees a solution we are unable see. He will not force us to yield because He understands we must make that choice ourselves. He stands by patiently, watching us struggle unnecessarily. Unfortunately, we have too much pride to admit we are unable to fix it ourselves and we actually do need help. Therefore, we must humble ourselves – surrender our pride, surrender our ability to do, surrender our way, surrender our solution. To overcome, we cannot rely on our strength or our might. We must rely on the power of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.
The Father speaks to each of our hearts saying: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). He comes along sides us and gently whispers to you and I: “This is the way, walk ye in it…” (Is. 30:21).
The Temptation of Christ, 1854 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
In the Book of James, we are instructed to submit to God and then to “…Resist the Devil…” so that “…he will flee from you.” To resist means “to stand against… to act in opposition” or “to strive against.” If we are to resist the Devil, then we must choose a different course of action. No longer should we submit to the wiles of the Devil but, instead, we should submit to the plans and purposes of God. So doing, we can expect that the Devil to flee. When he sees that we have committed our heart and lives to God, the Devil will flee from us for a season. But we will never experience this if we do not submit ourselves to the powerful grace of God.
The enemy cannot lure us into sin if we see him in advance and are well aware of his tactics. His tactics have never changed; he lures us with (1) the lust of the eyes, (2) the lust of the flesh, and (3) the pride of life. If we look at the Great Temptation of Christ (see Matthew 4:1-11), we learn how to properly “resist the devil.”
- The Lust of the Eyes:Christ demonstrates that we should trust God alone to provide our needs. If we don’t have it:
- We don’t need it,
- It is not the proper season for it, or,
- We are not ready for it.
- The Lust of the Flesh: Christ teaches us to find ourselves in the center of God’s will and under His Divine protection. It is not wise try God’s hand of protection as we seek vain pursuits.
- The Pride of Life: Christ teaches us to worship and serve God alone. We deceive ourselves when we trust in self, our abilities, our talents, etc. All these things are given to us by our heavenly Father. And whatever He blesses us with, we should return it back to Him and bless and honor Him therewith.
[Continued from yesterday…]
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will free from you.”
Submit: “To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will, or authority of another; To give up resistance; To yield without murmuring”
(Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
(Richard King) Pope Pius XII (Kiltullagh) (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)
If we walk in agreement with the world, then we walk contrary to God and, thus, become enemies to Him. It is not God’s will for us to be His enemy, but instead he desires to have us wholly to Himself, therefore He gives us the grace we need to overcome and to walk in victory over sin. For this reason, James tell us to submit to God. Based on the above definition, we learn three things about what it means to submit to God: