Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Lately I’ve been hearing pastors say over and over again that the devil doesn’t change his tactics because they work every time.
Can I get an amen?
Well, if you won’t say it, I will. AMEN! The last couple of weeks I’ve been tempted with one of the same old things I’ve always fallen for: to get a particular desire met in my own timing, by my own scheming, and for my own enjoyment. Does that sound familiar, or is it just me?
Prior to the advent of this particular temptation, I was wrestling by study and prayer and an open heart with a huge theological doctrine: that of free-will versus determinism. Without getting into all the details, I’ll summarize by saying that I changed my position, and that it was this new outlook which made the above verses come alive and into power in my life tonight when I and Christ did our parts to fulfill them.
I’ve been saying for… a year? Two maybe? That I’m surrendering my life to Christ, that it’s all His, always has been, always will be, and that no matter what, I’m following Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. Tonight, I had to decide if I’ve been telling the truth, or just reciting a Christianese platitude.
Tonight, I want to humbly boast (for I’m boasting in the power of Christ, and certainly not my own, because my power would have had me down the same old path again) that I chose to be honest. To make true what I had been telling myself and been praying for God to develop in me.
You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Same chapter, verses 2-3. I don’t know how much sense I’m making to you, because it’s 3 a.m. following a 12-hour workday and some time wrestling with myself in between. But I just wanted to share this victory and knew it would be too long for a Facebook status.
Just do me a favor and look at the first passage again. You have to submit to God before you can resist the devil. We usually forget that part and go straight to the fight without our armor and battle plans. Wash your hands, purify your heart, enter into the temple and presence of the Lord, and get the vision that He has for you before you race off to fight. Who wages war without an end goal? If your goal is victory, then victory for what purpose?
To glorify God and fulfill His purposes. Otherwise, what are we doing here? Wait for the Lord to lift you up so that you have the high ground against the enemy.
I overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of my testimony of what He has wrought in my heart. So can you. Fight! But first submit.