Submit yourselves therefore 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. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. – James 4:7-10
We all face temptation at one time or another, right? How do you resist the urges inside?
Since I was a kid, I remember people quoting part of the passage above and I am sure I would have said it as well. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”, but it’s a bit more complicated than simple resistance, isn’t it?
Within the last decade or so, I’ve learned that the secret to resistance is actually sandwiched around that single line.
- First, we must submit our lives (everything) to God.
- Second, when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.
We can resist temptation, but our success will be short-lived unless we submit and draw near to the Lord.
I discovered a powerful sermon on this topic some years ago. It was written and delivered by Thomas Chalmers in the early 1800s entitled “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”. Consider the following quote based on the passage above.
“We know of no other way by which to keep the love of the world out of our heart than to keep in our hearts the love of God and no other way by which to keep our hearts in the love of God, than by building ourselves on our most holy faith…The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one….”
So if I want to see a change in my life then my love for the things this world has to offer in its twisted way must be more than put away. I must place something worthy in its place and the only new affection that will suffice is a complete surrender to the will of Christ in my life.