Explore the Bible
November 18 2018
James 4:6-17 (HCSB)
Since we live in a democracy it is difficult for many to understand the idea of sovereignty. Our Founding Fathers designed our government in such a way that those who govern only govern at the consent of the governed. They did not want ultimate power to rest in a single person or even a single group of people. Our country doesn’t have a sovereign ruler. During the Middle Ages monarchs ruled by divine right. They believed God gave them the right to rule. England once had such a monarchy; now it has a constitutional monarchy. The queen reigns with all the pomp and circumstance of royalty but she does not rule. God both reigns and rules because He is our sovereign ruler.
James said we are to “submit to God” (James 4:7). God is the sovereign ruler and we are His subjects. The word “submit” is the Greek word that means “to rank under.” The idea is to subject yourself to the authority over you in obedience. Submission and obedience are not identical. Submission involves the surrender of the will that results in obedience. James was calling us to subject or submit our wills to God’s control.
There is a negative side to the command to submit to God as James said to “resist the Devil” (James 4:7).
The word “resist” is a military metaphor that urges Christians to stand against Satan. We resist the devil by not giving in to the temptation of sin. The more we “draw near to God” the more He can “draw near” to us (James 4:8). In the Old Testament drawing near to God was an expression of repentance humility commitment and worship.
James provided some practical steps. We are to have an inner and outward purity. We are to grieve over sin and humble ourselves before God. We are not to slander or use insulting language against others. And we are to align our will with the will of God.
As Christians we must live in full commitment to God’s will for our lives.